Amazon released Kindle for Blackberry yesterday and it’s a good time to come back to the advantages and disadvantages of making Kindle software and eBooks available on various devices.
Here’s what Amazon is offering with Kindle for Blackberry -
- US only.
- Supported devices include Bold 9000, Bold 9700, Curve 8520, Curve 8900, Storm 9530, Storm 9550, Tour 9630.
- You get the 400,000+ books in the Kindle Store at their usual cheap prices.
- The basic reading and Whispernet functionality is enabled.
- There are 3 future enhancements slated – scrolling in addition to page turns, search, and creating notes and highlights.
Kindle for Blackberry means that Amazon are now letting Blackberry owners read Kindle books without owning a Kindle.
Is it a good decision to let users get Kindle books without buying a Kindle?
A past post – Are Kindle for PC, iPhone Hedges? addressed this question to a certain extent.
The answer now, as then, is that letting users get Kindle books without buying a Kindle is a great idea -
- It weakens the position of competing eReaders if they don’t offer their books on non-eReader platforms.
- Every single Kindle ebook purchase locks users into the Kindle ecosystem.
- Using Kindle software and buying Kindle eBooks makes users likelier to read more and graduate to buying a Kindle.
- There might be some Kindle sales lost - However, they are unlikely to be a lot and those users still buy Kindle eBooks.
- The more Kindle eBooks are sold the stronger the Kindle Store gets and the stronger the Kindle gets.
An important thing to keep in mind is that most of these are long-term bonuses.
Amazon is setting up the Kindle for long-term dominance
People are looking at things in the immediate to 1 year time-frame and assuming it’s a loss for Amazon i.e.
A Kindle for Blackberry user now means that the user will not buy a Kindle.
The other, equally myopic, perspective is that Amazon is hedging its bets and doesn’t believe in the Kindle device.
Actually, Amazon are looking at things with the long-term and very long-term implications in mind -
- What happens in 10 years?
- Can we dominate both eReaders and eBooks?
- How do we get people to read more?
- How do we get people who wouldn’t buy an eReader to read more?
- What’s an easy introduction to the Kindle eco-system.
- What moves are going to be hugely significant 10 to 15 years down the line.
It makes sense to let readers on as many devices as possible read Kindle Books and to introduce as many people as possible to the Kindle eco-system.
Kindle for PC, iPhone, Blackberry work in conjunction with Amazon’s other moves
It’s not just with Kindle for devices that Amazon is showing its long-term thinking. There are lots more examples -
- The $9.99 prices and taking losses on books.
- Amazon Encore.
- Mr. Bezos talking about there being a Kindle 10.
- The speed with which Amazon have responded to competition (especially recently in response to Nook and iPad).
- Letting authors get 70% of ebook prices.
Amazon intends to be the platform for all of Publishing and it’s certainly moving according to a 10 to 20 year blueprint.
What really happens with Kindle for Blackberry?
Let’s look at various groups of people and consider how Kindle for Blackberry affects them -
People with Blackberries and Kindles
They suddenly get a lot more bang for the buck -
- They can read across Blackberry, Kindle, and other devices.
- Books are synced and notes made on the Kindle are available on the Blackberry.
- They can read more often.
They get a lot more value from their Kindle device and Kindle books purchases.
They also get locked in further into the Kindle’s eco-system and buy more Kindle Books.
People with Blackberries thinking about buying a Kindle
Let’s say there are two wide sub-categories -
- The first category think they don’t need a Kindle any more and don’t buy one.
- The second category think a Kindle makes even more sense and buy a Kindle.
While we can speculate endlessly on which affects Kindle sales more, the real bonus for Amazon is that both categories buy Kindle eBooks.
People with Blackberries thinking about buying another eReader (non-Kindle)
This is very similar to the previous category – a lot more people start buying Kindle eBooks.
We also get a small number of people who decide to get a Kindle instead of another eReader as the Kindle with Kindle for Blackberry offers more value.
People without Blackberries choosing between Blackberry and Kindle
Here we run into a bit of a problem. Suddenly the Blackberry becomes the clear choice. It does lead to losses in Kindle sales.
However, there isn’t really much loss in Kindle eBook sales.
The Net Effect of Kindle for Blackberry
We get a net impact that is very interesting -
- Kindle sales probably go down a bit.
- Kindle eBook sales probably go up a bit.
That, however, is in the short-term.
In the long-term Kindle for Blackberry users are likelier to buy a Kindle. Also, the number of Kindle for Blackberry users is going to be a lot more than the number of people owning a Blackberry that are considering buying a Kindle.
That means that in the long-term we get a lot more Kindle Sales and a lot more Kindle eBook sales.
The net impact of Kindle for Blackberry is going to be very positive for Amazon.