New eReaders, Kindle Killers & iPad Killers

It’s been fashionable for the last two years to label every new device a Kindle Killer or an eReader Killer – Now, journalists and bloggers all over the world are overcome with euphoria at the realization that the new breed of Tablets can be called Kindle Killers, eReader Killers, and also iPad Killers. No more need to waste time thinking up good headlines. 

Asus Eee Tablet anointed Kindle Killer, iPad Killer

Gizmodo demonstrate their ingenuity by devising a painfully inaccurate headline  – Asus Eee Tablet: Call It a Kindle-Slayer, Not an iPad Killer.

  • Number of Times iPad is mentioned in the article: 0.
  • Number of times the Kindle is mentioned in the article: 0.
  • Number of comparisons with either Kindle or iPad: 0.

Yet Gizmodo is so in love with the concepts of kindle killer and iPad killer it finds a way to stuff them into the headline.

Let’s take a look at this new device, the Asus Eee Tablet, which seems to have such violent tendencies – 

  1. 2540 dpi screen. That seems impossibly high. Let’s see what it looks like with that sort of richness.
  2. A 8″ black/white passive TFT LCD screen with 1024 by 768 resolution and 64 levels of gray.
  3. Fast 0.1 second page turns.
  4. Will be between $200 and $299.
  5. Take notes with a stylus – highly sensitive touchscreen. There are a variety of notepad templates to choose from.
  6. A 2 MP camera. Take pictures and write on them.
  7. WiFi.
  8. MicroSD card slot and USB port to connect with PCs. 
  9. Will arrive in September.
  10. There is no backlight and Asus promises up to 10 hours of battery life.
  11. Asus is billing it as electronic notepad + eReader + media player.

Some of the above details are courtesy Hot HardwareTech in Style has lots of nice Asus Eee Tablet photos.

Asus Eee Tablet Details

From the photos it’s clear that -

  1. When reading a book you have Page Numbers and a tempting Full Screen option.
  2. There are buttons for table of contents, zoom in, zoom out, Settings, Highlighter, Pen, Bookmark, and what seems to be a full screen icon.
  3. Apps include Calendar, Calculator, Notebooks, Photo Albums, Sticky Notes, To Do List, and Voice Memo. The Apps are presented in a cover flow type view.
  4. There’s a search functionality and you seem to be able to search within a single notebook (and presumably a single book).
  5. It says you can store, sort, tag, and organize your notes.

Whoever provided the photos didn’t do a thorough job because the page that shows the list of Apps also claims to be Page 134. It’s rather unlikely that there are 134 pages of Apps.

Asus is targeting students and mobile businessmen and it’s going to be a pretty good fit for both – although you have to wonder about the gap between what is the best device for these two demographics and what device these two groups find the most appealing. Surely a device that would let them watch movies or surf the Net or play games while pretending to be working or playing would be much more attractive than the Asus Eee Tablet. 

Does the Asus Eee Tablet measure up?

Well, it’s an easy question to answer –  

  • The Asus Eee Tablet is obviously not an iPad killer. It’s not a do-everything device so there’s no way it can compete with the iWhatever.
  • The Asus Eee Tablet is probably not a Kindle killer either. It doesn’t use eInk and apart from writing functionality and the high screen resolution there aren’t any strong points.

In a way the Asus Eee Tablet tries to take the best of LCD screens and the best of eInk screens without realizing it’s also taking some of the disadvantages of both. The net result is that it isn’t really a huge threat to either the iPad or the Kindle.

eReader invasion from the East

Asus isn’t the only Asian company looking to capture a chunk of the exploding eReader market. There are three other very interested companies.

Acer LumiRead eReader takes on Kindle

The LA Times reports on the Acer LumiRead -

  1. The LumiRead has a 6″ eInk screen.  
  2. It has a camera that lets a user scan a book’s bar code and then compare the ebook price or add the book to a wishlist.
  3. Acer is set to release it in USA, China, and Germany in Q3, 2010 (perhaps even as soon as July). 

There’s a lot more on the LumiRead at my Kindle vs Acer Lumiread comparison post.

Delta’s Color eReader named eMagazine

This is a rather interesting new eReader that somehow managed to escape my attention (well, until now) -

  1. eMagazine is a Color eReader that uses particle-based technologies Delta and Bridgestone have jointly developed. 
  2. Its 13″ display shows complete magazine pages one at a time – no need for scrolling and zooming.
  3. It’s half the weight of the iPad. 

Go to love how Delta contrast screen size with 6″ eReaders and weight with the iPad.  

Delta also drum up quite a strong argument against LCDs -

Apple’s iPad and some e-readers sport LCD displays, which can show color. But those are harder to see in sunlight, cause eye-fatigue and consume much more power than the e-paper displays used in other e-readers.

Very valid points.

There are also two interesting snippets on their future plans -

Delta’s Lee said the company hopes to develop in two to three years particle-based displays that can display sharper colors like magazine pages, instead of the more shady colors its e-Magazine now displays.

No price tag was given for e-Magazine.

Lee said publishers may offer the e-readers free with a two or three years magazine subscription.

Really? Sign me up right now.

If Delta do deliver a 13″ color eReader that’s comparable to eInk in readability – then they will be very well placed. They’re promising to have something out by December 2010.

Hanwang plans to dominate the Chinese market and become world’s #1 eReader maker

Hanwang keep coming up and we now have both LA Times and Financial Times writing about them -

  1. Hanwang sold 266,000 eReaders in 2009.  
  2. They plan to sell over 1 million eReaders this year. 
  3. They released a 6″ eInk based eReader just last month.
  4. The founder, Mr. Liu Yingjian, wants to make Hanwang a Fortune 500 company.
  5. The founder also thinks that Tablets will not replace eReaders and that within 3 years there would no longer be any confusion between the two.

Hanwang’s Founder is pretty confident and went as far as to claim that by 2012 Hanwang would be the biggest eReader company in the world -

 “By the year after next at the latest, we will be the biggest in the world. Why? Because China is the world’s biggest market,” Mr Liu said.

He brings up the fact that US companies struggle with localization and Chinese character recognition. Wonder how much of a factor that is and how much of a factor is the uncertainty of doing business in China.

A tale of 4 kindle competitors

By a strange coincidence there were 4 posts discussing 4 different Kindle rivals open on my browser this morning. It’s surreal to see the wide variety of approaches, strengths, and flaws exhibited by the Kindle’s rivals.

Let’s take a look. 

The Nook – Perennially Late

If there was any doubt that B&N have a huge problem sticking to deadlines it should be removed completely by the list of improvements in their Mega-Update (courtesy CNet) -

  1. Their Read in Store feature which didn’t make it to release and then missed the promised January arrival is here. It’s only 4 months late (from the originally promised data – the November release).
  2. Bug Fixes – addressing freezing problems with the Nook. These again have been complained about since release. My Nook has frozen both times it tried to get the current update.
  3. User interface and Performance Tweaks – Wasn’t this in the magical update that arrived one or two weeks after the Nook was released? What about the January update that was supposed to fix this?

If all Barnes & Noble performance improvement upgrades really worked as claimed Nook would be faster than LCD screens by now.

To be fair there is one solid addition and one useful addition in this upgrade -

  1. Nook added a web browser so users can take advantage of the WiFi. 
  2. Two Android games – Chess and Sudoku.

This release is a microcosm of Nook’s strengths and weaknesses -

  1. The Read in Store feature highlights B&N’s retail presence.  
  2. The Browser with WiFi represents the WiFi capabilities and the promise of Android. 
  3. The fact that they still have to fix freezing problems and speed problems says a lot about their lack of software expertise.
  4. The fact that Read in Store was advertised at launch and has made it out only 4 months later shows just how much overselling B&N do – calling their eReader a ‘color’ eReader and promising Lending of Books without explaining that Publishers could turn it off.

If half of winning is showing up then Nook has been losing half the battle even before it gets started.

Consider this snippet -

It’s also important to note that because the device can now access the Web, you can log in to Wi-Fi networks that require authentication via a Web page.

Nook owners have been asking for the ability to access more public Wi-Fi hot spots since the e-reader’s launch.

B&N actually launched a WiFi capable device that couldn’t handle log-in pages. That’s just amazing.

B&N’s tardiness actually gets worse – B&N’s eReader for the iPad doesn’t arrive until May. They are giving Kindle for iPad and iBooks a whole month plus to gobble up iPad readers.

The Generic Low-Value Low-Price eReaders

In this case it’s the Aluratek Libre eBook Reader Pro and the Kobo Reader – both reviewed at ZDNet review.

Here’s the cookie-cutter formula for budget eReaders -

  1. 6″ eInk screen.  
  2. $150 price.
  3. Go with either openness (support for ePub, PDF, library books) or value for money as the primary draw.
  4. Do your best to make it look indistinguishable from every other eReader.
  5. Make sure the feature set makes it even more indistinguishable from every other eReader.

Aluratek sticks to it with the minor deviation of using a 5″ black and white reflective LCD display. They manage to take away the single biggest advantage of eReaders, eInk, while embracing one of eInk’s biggest negatives (lack of color). ZDNet think the Kobo is better and from the images and features it certainly seems that way.

Kobo stick to the formula too – except they add a big blue button in the front that looks completely out-of-place. The review is very favorable and Kobo’s service and store are both beginning to impress.

It’s interesting that the review is based on 15 minutes of playing around with a Kobo eReader and that the reviewer thinks that Kobo Reader sets the bar for low-priced eReaders.

Yup – it’s now half a feet off the ground.

It’s insignificant carbon copies and the Press still claims they are Kindle Killers

The Press keep making the mistake of thinking that because they don’t think eReaders are worth $259 people who actually buy eReaders also think the same.

In the Press’ mind every sub-standard $150 clone ereader seem closer to what an eReader should be than a decent eReader like the Kindle or the Sony Reader Touch Edition or the Nook.

The iPad – It looks so good it must be good for something

This iPad review from Concordiensis is impressive in that the reviewer does three very interesting things -

  1. In an area he’s qualified to talk about (college and education) he says it’s not usable because it doesn’t have a keyboard (and the keyboard dock takes away whatever mobility advantage it has). 
  2. In an area he’s not as qualified to talk about (reading books) he offers up the possibility that the iPad is a good option.
  3. Not mention what the iPad is meant for.

The second and third paragraphs sum up this paradox of looking great and not being very useful perfectly -

The most impressive feature of the iPad is undoubtedly the beautiful touchscreen … Equally impressive is the design of the device; it’s clear that aesthetic design didn’t take a backseat to performance.

That said, the rest of it isn’t nearly as impressive. One can’t help but feel that you’re using an iPod Touch that was simply scaled up to the size of a netbook … typing anything substantial on the screen gets old fast.

There’s this strong sense of potential about the iPad – It has so much potential. It looks so pretty. It feels so good to touch. It’s so well designed.

It MUST be usable for something.

The grand assumption is that someone is going to invent a ‘killer app’ that makes the iPad absolutely necessary. Until then let’s keep pretending it’s a dedicated reading device and a dedicated work device and a netbook and a hundred other things.

At some level no one’s really trying hard enough to make a better eReader

B&N’s Nook team keeps delaying things. Sony’s Reader Team seem not to care about providing a service or selling books. Apple wants an App to do what hardware usually does.

Plus a thousand smaller companies want to feed off the edges of the market.  

Which company is actually creating a Kindle competitor?


  1. The iPad is a reading killer – it’s trying to kill reading, not the Kindle. Ditto for tablets.
  2. The Generic $150 eReaders are just trying to trap uninformed customers.
  3. Nook and Sony Reader just aren’t solving the problems of reading.

It’s the ultimate irony that we have tens of thousands of Kindle Killer articles but not a single true Kindle competitor.

Contrasting two reviews discussing rumored death of the Kindle

For your viewing pleasure we have two reviews this morning. If you’re bored to death of the JesusTablet feel free to skip this post.

BusinessWeek crucifies the Kindle

BusinessWeek just woke up to the fact that they’re Press and thus obligated to predict the death of the Kindle.

First they have analyst Charlie Wolf offer his opinion -

“It’s not a compelling product,” he says of the Kindle, because Apple’s iPad offers more features, such as the ability to play video, plus a more compelling design.

Notice how his reasons have nothing to do with actually reading ebooks. He’s still predicting 2.5 million to 3 million Kindles sold in 2010.

Next we have noted expert analyst Gene Munster (with his patented technology of using the length of lines outside stores to predict sales) offer up his views -

 “No one in their right mind is going to buy a Kindle DX,” says Munster.

Then we have Business Week use this snippet -

Ten percent of prospective buyers said they had considered a Kindle but decided instead to buy an iPad. And 58% of the respondents who already owned Kindles said they planned to stop using them in light of their iPad purchase.

Notice how they forget to mention that the number of respondents who owned Kindles in their survey was just 58. Predictions based on views of 58 owners (given that there are millions of Kindle owners) are not dependable – Just the number of articles pretending that this survey is hugely significant is more than 58.

BW are so impressed by the survey that they actually have a heading for it – Consumers dumping Kindles for iPads.

Mike Shatzkin’s iPad review from a book reader’s perspective

Mike Shatzkin looks at the iPad from the perspective of an ebook reader and he has this to say -

Here’s a quick review of the iPad. I’ve had it for a few days now and, based on what I know so far, it isn’t going to be a very important part of my life.

Thank goodness there’s at least one person who hasn’t had their life completely transformed by the JesusTablet. Well, two.

Further Heresy

 Mike Shatzkin points out that the on-screen keyboard doesn’t cut it -

The keyboard is miles better than one on a phone, but nowhere near as good as one on a laptop or netbook. So it isn’t a substitute for carrying a full-function computer on a trip …

And then the kiss of death -

But as a straight ereading device, it just doesn’t cut it for me.

The extra weight (over a Kindle or an iPhone) just isn’t sufficient compensation for the extra screen capability.

It isn’t as good as the iPhone for reading in bed in the dark because the much more light it throws off makes it harder to avoid annoying your significant other.

For the past two nights have been reading and surfing on the iPad in bed and the weight really is an issue – the iPhone is actually more convenient.

Pointing out some obvious differences between the two Reviews

Perhaps the biggest difference is -

  1. Mike Shatzkin was looking for a device to read ebooks on. 
  2. BusinessWeek were looking for a catchy story to print.

From the Business Week article it’s apparent that the writer hasn’t had the time to actually read a book on each device and compare – She was busy calling up 4 different analysts (they don’t seem to have read books on the Kindle either) and analyze the survey. Notice how all her information is second-hand information – She never actually writes anything about her personal experience.

It’s a colossal joke – A writer who hasn’t actually tried out the devices is asking analysts who haven’t tried out the devices either and they’re shoring it up by assuming a sample of 58 people buying iPads represent all Kindle owners.

You can take any ‘iPad will kill the Kindle’ review/article and you’ll find the exact same things -

  1. They are almost always written by people who haven’t actually read a book on the Kindle.
  2. Even more amusing is that these people usually haven’t even read a book on the iPad. Walt Mossberg is the sole exception.
  3. The focus is always on things other than reading. The logical flow is: Kindle is an eReader -> iPad is really good for watching movies. You can also read books on it. -> Hence the Kindle is dead.
  4. There’s always a survey or an analyst to lend credibility.
  5. There’s lots of mention of reading in the dark and of color.
  6. There’s never any mention of the things that make iPad non-optimal for reading i.e. lack of portability, heavy weight, unreadable in sunlight, and so forth.  

What if the iPad doesn’t kill the Kindle?

The iPad hasn’t sold tens of millions of units (450K to be precise) and there aren’t dozens of amazing killer apps (perhaps not any) making it absolutely essential. Even Macworld writers are ditching the iPad. So it might not be the second coming of a JesusDevice.

There are just 30,000 non-public domain books in the iBooks store. It’s pretty heavy and it’s not readable in sunlight. So the iPad isn’t a better eReader - Is it really going to kill the Kindle because it’s better for watching movies?

On top of that People aren’t buying very many books from the iBooks store. Nothing like Kindle Store on Christmas.

At this point the whole iPad will kill the Kindle hypothesis is based on factors other than reading. You have to admit that makes it rather undependable.

That would mean it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the iPad fails to destroy Kindle and dedicated eReaders. What happens then?

Motion to ban ereader articles from using ‘kill’ and ‘killer’

Here are some of the headlines that pop up when you search for ‘kindle’ or ‘iPad’ on Google News -

  1. iPad may kill Plastic Logic. 
  2. Apple’s iPad will kill netbooks.
  3. Will Vooks be the Kindle Killer? 
  4. Neofonie WePad is an 11.6″ Android-based iPad Killer.
  5. Palm can revive with ‘iPad Killer’ WebOS Tablet.
  6. iPad kill ebooks that we know.  
  7. Apple iPad Killer: Palm webOS Tablet PC. 

All these are from just Sunday – a day that sees the least amount of articles.

Why the fascination with devices killing devices/eReaders?

There’s no obvious reason that springs to mind -

  1. eReaders and devices aren’t really sentient beings. 
  2. It’s doubtful such headings are attractive any more – they’re repeated so much the impact is lost.
  3. It’s a little unlikely that every single eReader released will kill the market leader.
  4. If a device does get more sales than another device there are still the #2 and #3 spots.

There’s no originality – The same ‘kindle killer’ and ‘ereader killer’ articles spring up with every single new eReader/device release.

Some of these articles border on absurdity -

  1. How will the iPad kill Plastic Logic when the latter isn’t even released yet? 
  2. Palm is going to kill the iPad?  
  3. Neofonie WePad is going to kill the iPad?
  4. Vooks are going to kill the Kindle? 
  5. A lot of these devices aren’t even available yet – How can they be killing each other?

We should impose a ban on the use of ‘killer’ in any articles discussing eReaders

Here are the penalties for violating the ban -

  1. The writer of the article will be forced to look at and hold an actual eInk screen ereader.
  2. For articles that are especially ridiculous (WePad killing the iPad, Vooks killing the Kindle) the author will be forced to actually read an entire book on an eReader.
  3. Writers using particularly inflammatory language such as ‘does nothing other than reading’ and ‘LCD and eInk are no different’ will be forced to work for a month for The New York Times covering eReaders.

After the first few writers have experienced the pain of actually reading a book on an eReader they’ll spread the word and we should see an end to this kill/killer madness.

eReaders, the Kindle, and first mover advantage

The relentless use of terms like ‘Kindle Killer’ by the press creates the illusion that beating the Kindle is an easy task. The press like to think that a new eReader is going to come in and in a few short weeks nullify the Kindle’s first mover advantage, quickly equal its existing customer base, and take over the #1 spot.

In this post we won’t be talking about the iPad because it’s a multi-purpose ‘magical and revolutionary’ device that is trying to kill everything. If it kills, it’ll kill eReaders and reading. So let’s limit the scope of this post to discussing what it would take for a dedicated eReader to come in and kill the Kindle.

Let’s start with a rather sobering realization about first movers and early market leaders.

First Movers get a Huge Lead – In more ways than one

Let’s start by looking at the lead the Kindle has -

  1. Kindle is the first brand that jumps to mind when people think eReader.  
  2. Kindle has sold ‘millions of Kindles’ with estimates ranging from 3 million to ‘I’ve never seen one so no one must have bought it’
  3. There are rumors that 90% of ebook sales are via the Kindle Store.
  4. The Kindle probably reaches economies of scale other ereaders don’t. 
  5. Kindle for iPhone is the #1 Book App for the iPhone.
  6. The Kindle Store has more new books than any other store. It also has more blogs, more newspapers, more indie authors, and more magazines than Sony and Nook.
  7. The Kindle Store also has the lowest prices – although that might not last thanks to the agency model.
  8. There are more ‘Kindle owners’ and ‘Kindle customers’ than Sony/Nook owners and customers.

Any eReader starting off from scratch (or for that matter from the #2 spot) has to take on all these factors.

It’s worth noting that contrary to what the press would have us believe first movers and market leaders are rarely defeated.

David doesn’t often kill Goliath – Even in technology

David kills Goliath stories make for good news and are very appealing. However, Goliath doesn’t lose often – even in a rapidly changing realm like technology and the Internet. Consider this interactive list of the Top 100 sites from the BBC. It’s full of Goliaths that haven’t met their Davids or have crushed them mercilessly -

  1. Google is the #1 search site and has been for most of the 2000s.  
  2. Microsoft is still huge – both in software and with MSN and Bing and Hotmail.
  3. It’s worth noting that Google hasn’t been able to destroy Microsoft’s advantage in Operating Systems and Office Software and Microsoft hasn’t been able to kill Google in search.
  4. Blogger is still the #1 blog network.  
  5. YouTube still rules Video. 
  6. Apple, Dell and HP still rule computers along with other giants like Acer and Asus.  
  7. Weather Channel and Expedia still rule their niches.

There are very few giant killers on that list. There are, however, a lot of Giants that have proven immune to hordes of Giant Killers. A surprisingly large number of sites on that list are early movers – perhaps it would be more precise to say they were the first big successes in their niche and the early market leaders.

That’s exactly what the Kindle is – the first successful eReader that validated the market.

You have to be significantly better than the leader

Could things get worse than knowing that the early market leader doesn’t lose often? Actually, yes.

To beat a first mover you have to be significantly better – It’s not enough to be as good or to be a little better. If Nook 2 or Sony 606 are as good as Kindle 3 that won’t be enough – The Kindle’s better brand recognition, users’ inertia, and social proof will win out.

You have to be clearly better than the leader to start selling more. Plus it’s going to take a little bit of time to catch up in market share and you have to make sure you continue to be significantly better during the interim.

The Market Leader trains people to expect certain things

Here are the things the Kindle has trained people to expect -

  1. Free Internet.
  2. Very easy to use reading device.
  3. $9.99 books.
  4. 60 second downloads.
  5. Great customer service.
  6. Light weight and reasonably compact.
  7. 1-click purchases.

This goes beyond advantages and disadvantages – It’s about how people expect eReaders to look and behave.

It’s why the Entourage Edge is getting blasted for being 3 pounds. That’s in the same ballpark as a netbook and much less than a laptop. Yet, people used to really light Kindles and Sony Readers are finding 3 pounds too heavy.

It could get even worse – A market leader could patent a technology (such as multi-touch for phones or 1-click buying) and thus ensure you can’t duplicate what users expect.

Most early leaders have war chests

There’s an obvious benefit to being a market leader – You’re selling more and making more than #2 and #3. Often, a lot more. Since you have economies of scale on your side you can choose between making more profit per device than competitors or undercutting them on price.

You have also probably built up a war chest and a set of dedicated customers who’ll buy your future products.

This is exactly what’s happening with eReaders – the formation of war chests and loyal customer bases. Every Kindle owner is a small trickle of income to Amazon – from ebooks and new kindles and subscriptions. Over the last 2 years and 4 months they have built up millions of these little trickles of income.

A company like Entourage or Cool-er coming in now has nothing of the sort. Plus by competing on free they are ensuring they won’t have anything of the sort. Sony Reader and Nook advertise a million free Google Books and let people read library books – Sounds great, until you realize that Kindle owners are paying for books and earning Amazon money instead of reading free books and lending eBooks from the library.

Market leaders sometimes have multiple revenue streams

With Kindle and Kindle Store Amazon are probably making money both from eReaders and eBooks. Perhaps they aren’t yet – at some point of time in the future they will. At that point a company that hasn’t built up both revenue streams won’t be able to compete.

That’s just scratching the surface though. Amazon was an early mover in Internet retailing of books which gave it revenue and customer information and retailing expertise and Internet expertise and let it become an early mover in Interent retail of other goods. It’s also an early mover in cloud computing and it bought Zappos and it has multiple billion dollar businesses.

There’s just a lot of ammunition for Amazon to take on competitors. Of course, Microsoft and Apple have more ammunition – but no small company has much of a chance. Even if a company like Stanza wins an important channel Amazon buy them up.

If a Kindle Killer really does arrive then, unless it’s a tech giant, Amazon can just buy the company or its technology.

Market Leaders have time on their side (and escape plans)

Time is another element that people underestimate when they talk about Kindle Killers and Netbook Killers.

It often takes years to beat the market leader

Even if a company has a significantly better product, strong cash reserves, and keeps improving its product it faces the vagaries of time -

  1. People have to get to know about the product and switch to it. We all have a lot of resistance to change. 
  2. A significant number of people are going to wait a year or two – For the next generation of devices or when their eReader gets really outdated.
  3. The Market Leader gets time to improve.
  4. There are buying cycles and shopping seasons and recessions.
  5. There are revolutionary new products in completely unrelated fields that take up people’s attention and money. 

The ‘killing‘ of a market leader doesn’t happen overnight – it usually takes years and sometimes even decades.

Even when they’re beat they don’t necessarily die

The last thing worth keeping in mind is that going from #1 to #2 isn’t really ‘being killed’. For eReaders, being #2 would probably mean that in a few years instead of 10 million eReaders a year you’re selling 4 million eReaders a year. You could always go into a sub-niche and dominate that niche or switch to a related product area.

Alternately, you could reap the benefits of being #2 in an exploding niche and wait for your chance to bounce back and take the lead.

Amazon has a lot of businesses – websites, cloud hosting, Kindle devices, Kindle books,, Zappos, and more. If a company does manage to come in and wrest away the #1 spot Amazon will just stick with the Kindle, reap the rewards of being #2, and await the opportunity to win back the #1 spot.

Out of all the companies in a space the first mover (the early market leader) is usually the best placed. By first mover we do mean the first company that manages to actually succeed in a space.

It’s an idealistic notion that the little underdog will come in and upset the champion – It sounds beautiful and that still doesn’t change the fact that it’s rather unrealistic and hardly ever happens. The lonely exceptions prove the rule and keep the fantasy alive.


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