Talking tech since 2003

Amazon has always been one of the largest – if not the largest – online stores to ever take grasp upon the Internet.  In fact, Amazon was among the first to pioneer the concept of online storefronts.  However, many people aren’t aware that Amazon originally opened their doors (or their servers, rather) as an online bookstore.  That is, they sold nothing but books in the very beginning, and only started catering to other products as they became more successful and felt the need to expand.  Over the years, Amazon has become the online destination to purchase just about anything; from books to televisions, from clothes to musical instruments, they pretty much sell it all.

Over the years, however – even as times have changed – Amazon has not lost its grass-roots of book sales.  However, instead of selling a great number of paperbacks, Amazon has been shifting focus to electronic content delivery with their Kindle format which allows shoppers to download books onto their PC or Macintosh computer, iOS, Android, or BlackBerry handset, or Amazon’s own Kindle reader.  Over the last couple of years, Amazon has done very well promoting the Kindle device and Kindle eBooks to the point that the Kindle format has now grown to outsell paperback books on Amazon.com, according to MSNBC.

While this is definitely a big success and a major feat for Amazon, one has to consider that the book sales referenced in the MSNBC article only account for sales on Amazon.com, and not with any other retailer or store.  Nonetheless, the fact that Amazon has managed to lure so many customers over to the Kindle format still deserves some credit, and is by no stretch of the imagination an accident.

You see, because Amazon controls their own website and storefront, they are able to promote the Kindle as much as they want; and they have seized this opportunity to market the Kindle to every Amazon visitor over the last couple of years.  Even going to Amazon’s website today I am greeted with a large Kindle advertisement on the homepage.  The same can be said when browsing book titles on Amazon, as the Kindle version of a particular book is usually prominently displayed.

However, even with all of the advertising that Amazon has invested in the Kindle – even going as far as placing television ads – the product still would never have gotten off the ground had consumers such as you and me not seen the benefit to the Kindle.  Not only is the device thin and ultra-portable, but the Kindle format eBooks (which can be viewed on a handful of non-Kindle devices as well) are incredibly cost-effective.  In the example above, a paperback book that sells on Amazon for nearly $11 is available on the Kindle Store for a mere $5.  Combine this extraordinary savings with the instant downloads, and it’s easy to see why consumers are drawn to the Kindle format.

And it’s not like the Kindle format is cutting the throats of the publishers or authors, either.  They still make off pretty well, as the saving seen in the Kindle format compared to the paperback really only cuts out the cost of publishing and printing the book – not compensating the authors.  For this reason, I feel that the Kindle format is incredibly useful to Amazon, publishers, authors, and consumers alike and has earned the success that it sees today.


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