By Tim Hrycyshyn
Amazon’s Kindle reader might just be the future of book reading as we know it. For those unfamiliar with the product: think iPod meets your local newsstand. It’s a convenient, portable reading device with the ability to wirelessly download books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers. It brands itself as a completely mobile and simple device for all to use—so fear not, non-techies.
Priced at $359, Amazon hopes to attract all of its usual book buyers onto this new format of literature digestion. With the Amazon bookstore connected directly to the device, users can purchase and download new titles or subscriptions in moments, and usually for cheaper prices than a bookstore. The Kindle also makes morning news consumption easier than ever by allowing users to subscribe to their publications of choice, and the content is delivered and downloaded in the wee hours of the morning while most are still in bed.
The online reviews and videos alone are enough to spark serious interest. The device appears effortless and fun to use, and consumers who have already purchased one have fallen in love. To capitalize on the product’s earnest and widespread satisfaction rates, Amazon has taken their consumer product reviews – something the company has championed early on – a step further.
The PR and marketing managers at Amazon have designed a method for prospective Kindle owners to view the product first hand. The appropriately titled “See a Kindle in your City” initiative allows Kindle owners/enthusiasts to volunteer for an informal meeting and demonstration of the device. An Amazon message board allows these prospective customers to connect with Kindle users all over the country, to setup meetings at local coffee shops, public parks, or anywhere at all.
The unique connections Amazon is creating allows the company to generate serious word of mouth buzz, including brand recognition and consumer satisfaction. But is there a catch to all the hype? In our opinion, no. Like Apple, Amazon highlights simplicity as the product’s #1 selling point. And lucky for Amazon, one of those early adopters who loves its simplicity is Oprah.
On Winfrey’s afternoon television talk show Friday October 24th she announced the Kindle is her favorite new gadget and even went as far to say it was her “new favorite thing in the world.” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos made an appearance on the show but had little time to get a word in under Oprah’s singing praises. She applauded the new technology and even delivered one to each member of the studio audience.
Having Oprah’s stamp of approval equates to large sales figures and success for Amazon. Her book club is the largest in the nation and her opinion resonates with millions across America. How big is Oprah’s endorsement? According to a study from the University of Maryland, when Winfrey announced her support of Governor Barack Obama during his campaign, an estimated 1 million votes were added to the Democratic nominee’s tally.
So what does all this love for Kindle mean to you? Is the device unique enough to overcome its hefty price tag? With Oprah’s recent endorsement, will the Kindle be the hottest new gadget on the market this holiday season?
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