Oprah Kindle – Oprah's half-hearted Kindle recommendation

The Kindle got a rather half-hearted recommendation from Oprah today – very different from the hearty Oprah Kindle endorsement in 2008.

Oprah had this to say –

Thanks to the people at Amazon all of you (she was talking to her audience) get a free Kindle.

I love books but if you travel you got to get a Kindle.

That’s very, very different from 2008 when the Kindle was ‘Oprah’s favorite gadget’. It was also very different from earlier in the show when she asked her audience to support the ‘Students First’ initiative and suggested that at least 1 million out of the 10 million people watching her show should sign up for the initiative.

No Kindle discount = Amazon has more than enough demand

There was no $50 kindle discount – not even a $25 kindle coupon. Apparently Amazon has more than enough demand and doesn’t feel it needs to discount the Kindle any further.

If Amazon needed any help clearing Kindle stock Oprah’s show would have been the perfect time – The fact that Amazon didn’t offer even a token discount suggests Kindle sales are excellent.

What did we figure out about Kindle positioning?


It’s hard to imagine Amazon wanted to hear Oprah talk about how physical books are priceless and timeless and then mention ‘But if you’re travelling you got to get a Kindle’.

It clearly painted Kindle as a lesser option. We still don’t know anything new about how Amazon wants to position the Kindle.

What will getting shown on Oprah do for the Kindle?

Quite frankly, it’s good exposure and at the same time Oprah but two giant qualifiers around the Kindle –

  1. She specifically talked about how timeless books are and being able to pass them on and how much she loves books.
  2. Then she added the ‘If you’re travelling’ qualifier to the Kindle.

Basically, you could interpret it to mean she’s saying Kindles aren’t timeless and that they aren’t good other than when travelling.

Getting exposure on the Oprah show is great but there wasn’t really a strong Kindle endorsement from Oprah. Not very encouraging. She did say she was a Kindle owner – perhaps that helps.

It should get a decent number of people searching for the Kindle. It’s interesting that the $139 price didn’t come up – So Oprah’s audience didn’t get to know about one of the Kindle’s biggest strengths. They, and the TV audience, did get to see the Kindle and its screen and hopefully that gets a lot of people curious enough to search for more information.

The audience seemed inordinately happy to get a $139 Kindle. Makes me want to see the tape for the show on which everyone got a car.

Kindle Oprah is a non-event this year

This wasn’t Oprah recommending the Kindle. It came across as her reluctantly talking about the Kindle because Amazon gave her audience free Kindles. Not sure what Amazon did to upset Oprah – perhaps it should have handed out free Kindle DXes along with Kindle WiFis.

She didn’t even mention the $7.99 Kindle edition of her Book Club selection.

This was definitely a very lukewarm Oprah Kindle mention – Calling it a recommendation might be a stretch. There’s unlikely to be a very significant impact on Kindle sales. The Kindle is doing very well though and should get by just fine.

18 thoughts on “Oprah Kindle – Oprah's half-hearted Kindle recommendation”

  1. I was doing a Google search to try to find out if Oprah gave away the wifi only or the 3G/wifi version (freebies are freebies, but it would sort of suck to get wi-fi only if you don’t have wi-fi at home), and I saw that O Magazine is available as an App on IPad [Link removed – App is available on iTunes]. Maybe that’s why she’s not endorsing the Kindle as strongly?

  2. Maybe she loves wikileaks and she’s upset that Amazzon cut them off?

    Seems odd that they would put together a deal to give away free Kindles to the studio audience, which you just KNOW didn’t happen overnight but took MONTHS of planning. These shows are story-boarded months in advance.

    Something must have happened in the intervening time between conception and delivery…

  3. i can’t figure out what the big deal is, three or four blog posts on what Oprah might, may or did do. Really Switch, no book reviews to write about? Who really CARES! This made up competition between iPad and Kindle and conjecture about motives is silly and a waste of space.

    No matter what Oprah did people wouldn’t be happy and then to try and extrapolate Amazon’s reasons for no discount for this or no coupons for that. This style of writing “reporting” is tiresome as is the sense of entitlement.

      1. Perhaps, but that’s my decision. And I’m not making a blanket comment about the overall site content just simply the hyperbolic reporting about this particular issue.

        I mean Amazon or Oprah gave away a device valued at $139 or $189, with no obligation on the part of the recipient. What about writing that her giving them away perhaps might help Amazon sell more..or better still “that’s nice” or thank you.

        Kindle is an appliance, it’s nothing without content so the angst about adoption or any other such matters doesn’t help it simply fans the flames.

        1. Don’t understand what you’re upset about. Speculation and Analysis is one of the main things on this blog. Was there too much about the Oprah Kindle thing?

          Yes, However last time she did it was a very big deal. It basically make the Kindle a success (perhaps sooner than it would be, perhaps it was critical for Kindle to be a success).
          Awareness is a HUGE deal.

          It’s a war of perceptions and the entire Press is against dedicated ereaders and in a way against people who read.

      2. Since there was no reply button this may be out of order in the thread.

        OK speculation and analysis…I guess I don’t find value in speculating or analyzing a person’s motives or actions when one doesn’t have all of the info or someone is giving something away for free. And I certainly don’t agree that her endorsement, which *I* don’t think today’s broadcast was meant to be was an endorsement at all, frankly, that would be a pretty quick show. The show was about books, education, MJ, Franzen and his book and her book club pick. The Kindle isn’t a book, it’s a device to read books just as an iPod is a music player not a CD.

        That said and after much twisting and consternation you end the last blog entry on the topic with something to the effect of: the kindle is doing well, move along, there’s nothing to see here. That’s what was disturbing.

        In all of this analysis and speculation did you stop to think that 2008 is markedly different than 2010? That technology has advanced and new devices have cropped up on the scene since then? That there’s nothing wrong with liking a kindle AND iPad for they are different devices and no amount of wishes or noise will put the devices on the same plane? That a new version of an old device doesn’t need the same endorsement two years later when the device is only improved and not new or novel?

        I’m also unclear how you can say we don’t know Amazon’s positioning for the Kindle. Amazon’s positioning for the Kindle is crystal clear to me and I don’t write about it every minute of every day but I know what their positioning is, heck the new commercial are an improvement..they at least tell you what to do with the darn thing instead of the awful commercials from the beginning.

        It’s NOT a war unless we make it a war. If we, those who do read extoll the virtues of reading and the enjoyment we get out of reading on our Kindles people will follow. There is no perception problem, it’s made up and fanned and the pressisn’t against e-reader. If that’s the way it seems it’s because those who make them don’t do a good job and that has changed. Can’t say it enough, the Kindle is a device just like a television is now a device that’s basically useless without content that one gets from a cable box.

        I’m not blind to any of this Switch and I recognize what you’re trying to say, but I do corporate PR and marketing and to try and make this a we vs them is not the way. Kindles sell, people like them. Compare the Kindle to its earlier iterations and stop wishing it more than it is or trying to raise it to the level of Apple and it’s stable of products. Two different things and two different markets and demographics. Heck, I hate that my K3 has a web browser or twitter or that games are being sold for it.

        I love the site, btw, I just don’t like the made up drama reporting style and this Oprah thing was over the top for me. Reminded me of the non-news reporting that apple gets from its bloggers when apple does something that’s been in existence for years on some other device. I don’t hate Apple either i have every one of their products too and I know the difference between them all. 🙂

        1. It’s completely fine in this thread.

          Don’t really have anything to add – reading is an anti-opiate of the masses and there is a very real battle to kill it off. Just like there is a very real battle to kill off the Internet – included attempts by people pretending they are saving it.

  4. At the forums, someone posted they gave away the 3G Kindle, but it’s hard to know since people have not been consistent on using ‘3G/WiFi’ vs ‘WiFi only’…

    Nevertheless, giving away WiFi only is asking for trouble so I hope they did give away the 3G and this is why no price was mentioned, as reported.

    I’m on the west coast so haven’t seen it for myself yet, but I agree that this was pretty lukewarm. One could say, traveling outside your house is how someone like me uses it but then I use it in the home… 🙂

    I’m confused because the PR says the two recommended books are free at Amazon but the Kindlestore top-right-corner ad leads to the double-book for $8.

    I’d think it is definitely better to draw attention to the fact that these Oprah book recommendations are free on the Kindle (and then can be read on any of your devices because they’re Amazon books) and I think that the Kindlestore site should match that PR.

  5. Just wanted to mention that Oprah’s very first item on part 1 of her favorite things episodes this year was the iPad, and she made a point of saying how it was her all-time favorite thing, like, ever.

  6. Correction: I’m no longer puzzled. The PR is that Amazon has the recommended books on Kindle for free but then they point out that the $8 double book has special illustrations from the time, etc.

    That matches what she has said before, so that probably explains today.

  7. Do you wonder whether Amazon/Bezos actually asked Oprah to tone down what she was going to say about the Kindle? Perhaps in light of the fact that they seem to be having supply problems anyway so perhaps Amazon don’t want a massive Kindle stampede knowing that a lot of people will be disappointed.

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