Comparing how Kindle, Nook Color are promoted

The Kindle and the Nook Color are both promoted heavily on Amazon and B&N’s websites. Let’s compare how the two are promoted and see if anything interesting pops up.

Comparing how Kindle, Nook color are promoted – the main pages

B&N’s main site has an image of the Nook Color right at the top taking up around a quarter of the page -

  1. Nook Color has Elle Magazine showing on the screen. An obvious focus on its color capabilities and strength with magazines.
  2. Nook Color is described as an ‘Award Winning and Best-selling Reader’s Tablet’. The use of the term ‘Reader’s Tablet’ is interesting.
  3. Nook Color gets a ‘Buy Now’ button which takes you to the Nook Color product page.
  4. There’s a ‘Best Dedicated eReader’ quote from The Associated Press shown. This is something that comes up repeatedly – a focus on showing what the Press thinks of Nook Color.
  5. There’s an option to start a ‘360 degree view’ of the Nook Color. This is surprisingly helpful.

Amazon’s main site has Kindle right in the center and taking up around 30% or so of the page. It just seems to be getting a bit more focus than the Nook Color gets on B&N’s website.

  1. There’s a book shown on the Kindle’s screen. The angle makes it hard to tell which book.
  2. It’s described as ‘The #1 Bestselling Product on Amazon’. We see a lot of this in Amazon’s marketing – a focus on how well Kindle does amongst Amazon customers.
  3. There’s text saying ‘order now’ but no button. Instead there are links for the $139 Kindle WiFi and the $189 Kindle 3.
  4. No Press quotes or references. Amazon focuses primarily on customers for social proof.
  5. No option for a 360 degree view.

At this point the Nook Color has a bit of an advantage because it’s got the 360-degree view. However, Amazon.com gets a ton more traffic.

The Product Pages for Kindle, Nook Color

Amazon is all about details and logic and social proof

Let’s start with the Kindle 3 product page.

  1. In the name itself we get a lot of phrases highlighting Kindle strengths – wireless, reading device, free 3G, works globally, new eInk pearl technology. The name is far too long but the idea is good.
  2. Social Proof from customers – #1 bestseller, most 5 star reviews. It’s clearly shown that Kindle 3 has a 4.5 stars rating based on 16,179 reviews. Amazon is completely focused on showing how much other customers like the Kindle.
  3. There’s the added social proof that 3,343 people ‘Like’ the Kindle (there’s a little Like button on the top right).
  4. The choice of graphite or white.
  5. An indicator that it’s In Stock.
  6. A section on reviews from major publications. Example: ‘New Kindle leaves rivals farther back’ from The New York Times. This is the first and only place where Press Reviews are shown.

Those are the things visible before you scroll down. So Amazon’s focus seems to be – To show customers love the Kindle, and throw in the fact that the Press loves the Kindle too.

As you scroll down you run into all the data you could possibly want to help make a decision (including user reviews) -

  1. A section on main features/selling points. It’s interesting how it’s a very data-oriented layout. It’s just a bunch of bullet points with photos to the side. The features Amazon highlights are – eInk screen, sunlight reading, new fonts, sleek design, 15% lighter, battery life of one month, double storage, books in 60 seconds, free 3G wireless, WiFi, faster page turns, enhanced PDF reader, new WebKit browser.
  2. Then there’s a section where each of these is explained, along with some other benefits like lending and ease of use.
  3. A section comparing eInk to LCD screens.
  4. A section comparing the various Kindles.
  5. A section on choosing between Kindle 3G and Kindle WiFi.
  6. A size comparison of the new Kindle 3 and the older Kindle 2.
  7. Charlie Rose interview with Jeff Bezos.
  8. A video on features. All Amazon videos focus on people reading on the Kindle. B&N focuses on the Nook Color.
  9. A detailed list of features and benefits. There are images on the right side throughout. The left side has a ton of detail – everything you would want to know about each feature.
  10. After a few pages the right side shows a list of bestsellers and new releases and highlights the $9.99 price of Kindle books and the savings over hardcovers.
  11. After quite a few pages detailing the various features there’s a section talking about Kindle reading apps.
  12. A section on technical details.
  13. A few sections on Accessories and then a video on what customers are saying.
  14. Finally, customer reviews. The focus is on ‘most helpful’ customer reviews, with ‘most recent’ customer reviews listed on the right side.

Those are the main sections. It’s 20 pages of details and writing and around 4 pages of accessories and forum links and such.

20 entire pages detailing Kindle’s features and benefits. Amazon is putting all the information customers could want right on the product page. The more you read, the more invested you get. The further down the page you go, the more reasons you get to buy the Kindle. It all culminates in the solid customer reviews.

It’s also interesting that apart from product details and social proof there isn’t very much else. It’s a very logical, data rich approach.

Here are 25 reasons to buy the Kindle. Every other Amazon customer is buying it. Just Buy It!

That brings us to the Nook Color Page.

B&N is all about visuals and promoting features Kindle doesn’t have

B&N seems to want to focus on showing how pretty and bright and colorful the Nook Color is. 

  1. The first thing that’s interesting is that B&N changes what’s shown on the screen of the Nook Color – the screen rotates through images of magazines, the bookshelf, Nook Store, the home page, and Elle magazine.
  2. It touts Nook Color as ‘The Ultimate Reading Experience’.
  3. The features it focuses on are – 7″ color touchscreen, magazines & newspapers in color, kids’ books coming alive, 2 million plus titles. It’s clearly focusing on things the Kindle can’t do that well.
  4. After that, there’s a section titled ‘Touch the Future of Reading’ which focuses on the color touchscreen, the WiFi, sharing, personalization, personalized recommendations, and Nook Extras (Nook Apps).
  5. There’s a small section that covers NookBooks, Nook NewsStand, and NookKids. Then accessories and a bunch of links.

The main Nook Color product page only lists the main selling points of the Nook Color. There are other pages that cover – Features, Specifications, Book Choice, Magazine Choice, Nook Kids, Extras, Reviews, Support, and Protection Plan. The features page has a sub page for each and every feature. Lots of images.

For reviews B&N only features reviews from the press. No user reviews at all.

B&N even has photos of famous people, such as George W. Bush, seen with the Nook Color. Have no idea what to make of B&N’s focus on what the Press thinks of Nook Color as opposed to what actual owners think.

B&N has a pretty different approach from Amazon.

Look how shiny and pretty Nook Color is. Look how the Press thinks you should get it. Look at all the things you can do on this you can’t do with the Kindle.

As opposed to Amazon, which focuses mostly on what customers think of the Kindle and on providing copious amount of information, B&N focuses most on showing lots of bright color images of the Nook Color, promoting the features heavily (especially the features Kindle doesn’t have, like the color screen), and showing that the Press loves Nook Color.

It’s almost as if B&N is aiming Nook Color at people in love with pictures and colors and shiny gadgets while Amazon is aiming Kindle at people in love with words and logic.

The slow pile-up of Kindle book offers + free story

First, for your Kindle, a short story -

All these offers and the recent increase in the number of $1 and $2 kindle book deals creates a unique problem.

How can a kindle book offer stand out?

There are just too many offers. Despite writing almost daily posts on Kindle book deals there are still an abundance of book offers left over -

  1. After yesterday’s post on 28 children’s books for 88 cents each (including Curious George) there are now another 20 or so offers at 88 cents each (including a couple of Junie B. Jones books).
  2. Brenda Jackson is offering 5 Romance Novels for 81 cents each. These are all books rated 4 stars or 4.5 stars. The link takes you to one and then the ‘Customers who Bought this Item Also Bought’ section right below the book cover has 2 more 81 cent books. Alternatively, you could click on her name to bring up all her books and sort by Price: Low to High.
  3. There are also 80 cent romance novels from Sandra Edwards and Lori Foster.
  4. Almost every Publisher is using the trick of getting free publicity for an author’s new release by offering a previous book by the author for $1 or $2.
  5. Publishers are also using free books and free prequels and stories (like the one above) to generate interest in new book releases.
  6. More and more indie authors are moving to the $1 price point.
  7. A lot of backlist books are coming in at $3.

There are so many free offers and deals that you need an offer to generate interest in the offer.

We’ve moved from ‘How to get attention in a crowded market’ to ‘How to get attention in a market crowded with free offers and $1 book deals’.

$1 Book Deals are no longer getting much attention

There was a time (most of 2008 and 2009) when a $1 book got a ton of attention. Orbit Books used to have a $1 Book of the Month special and Amazon would feature it and lots of people would buy it.

Imagine that – Having a $1 book offer was enough to get attention.

Now, even with a $1 or $2 book deal from a bestselling author, it’s hard to get attention. Just in this week alone we’ve had 5 or more bestselling authors offer books for $1.99. Not a single one of them got a ‘Special Feature’ by Amazon. When people mention it on the forum the offer quickly gets buried by newer offers – sometimes within 15 minutes.

A $1/$2 offer is slowly losing its power.

Fighting for Attention despite a $1 Book Deal is just the Beginning

It’s going to get worse.

Currently we have 50 to 100 free book offers a month. At least those get lots of attention from everyone and lots of downloads. If we go back to 2008, we had 3 to 5 free book offers a month.

What happens when we have 10 to 20 offers a day and 400 offers a month?

Then free book offers will become the equivalent of what $1 book deals have become now. Before you can check the 5 most recent free book offers there will be another 5. Halfway through that list there’ll be another 5.

Where do we go after free?

First, it became tough for a book to stand out in the Kindle Store. Now, it’s becoming tough for a $1 book deal to stand out. Soon, it’ll become tough for a free book offer to stand out.

What do authors do after that?

The ability to use free books as free marketing is going to vanish. Free book offers are only valuable when there is a limited supply. These days, every single author wants to use a $1 book deal or a free book offer to promote her/his new novel. That means the number of offers keep increasing and readers are well on their way to becoming indifferent to offers.

Instead of a treat it’ll become an expectation.

We’re already beginning to see this in the way readers react to free book offers – There’s no longer that ‘once in a month’ special feeling. Users get 10 offers on Monday and then 11 on Tuesday – more offers in 2 days than they probably got in all of 2008. It’s just not that special any more.

Kindle Store authors are about to lose their two main free marketing options – Book Deals and Free Book Offers. Then, horror of horrors, they’ll have to spend actual money on marketing their books.

Perhaps even more fascinating is wondering what will happen as this trend continues and competition for readers gets tougher and tougher. Authors have no idea how challenging things are going to be for them and readers have no idea how good things will be for people who read books.

Amazon ought to pre-announce every Kindle update

Given the amount of excitement and anticipation the Kindle 2.5 upgrade is creating it’s time Amazon started doing this with every upgrade.

Here are some of the Kindle 2.5 update threads at the official kindle forum -

The official announcement thread.

2.5 Update – More Information about how we get it

2.5I – just got it

Kindle DX2.5 + Calibre to manage Collections

Holy Crap – 2.5!!!!!!!

oh boy oh boy oh boy

That’s on just the first page alone.

Some Information on the 2.5 upgrade

A commenter wrote this was the first useful information she’d read on the update and have to agree. This is what S. Foster wrote about the 2.5 upgrade -

  1. Kindle 2.5 update was released to 20,000 Kindles in the first 2 weeks of May.
  2. Wave 3 started a few days ago.
  3. It takes 2 to 4 days for the file to be downloaded. It helps to have wireless on and have your Kindle in sleep mode.
  4. The rollout will be sometime after Wave 3 gets done.

The thread has lots of details so do take a look.

Anyways, let’s look at all the benefits of talking about the release a month before it happens.  

Anticipation increases the Pleasure

Blogs and newspapers are talking about how they have ‘exclusives’ on the Kindle 2.5. Ars Technica is one example. Look at this paragraph -

Kindle 2.5 isn’t scheduled for a broad public launch until “late May,” according to Amazon, but we got early access so we could play around with the new features.

Isn’t that amazing – early access.

On the right side you have Burger King paying for an advertisement people will block out. On the left you have an article about the Kindle’s latest features which Amazon had to pay nothing for. In fact, Ars Technica are happy to write about it.

They even have 7 screenshots.

This is stealing Apple’s playbook and it’s great to see.

Customers get excited and appreciate the feature more

  1. Those 6 threads listed above – That’s excitement and it’s contagious. 
  2. There’s actual psychological proof that people appreciate things more when they have to wait for them. 
  3. People get vested and end up loving the features a little bit more than they would otherwise.
  4. For that entire month anyone considering an eReader knows they’ll get additional features soon.

This is all stuff that works and stuff that companies like Apple use a lot. It’s about time Amazon started using it – they have to because Kindle vs iPad is going to be, wrongly and unfairly and undoubtedly, the theme for most of this year.

It’s about time Amazon started running ads showing iPad as a creepy vampire that can’t step out in the sunshine and can’t focus on anything for more than a minute.

I’m an iPad and I don’t work in sunshine. 

 Could I bite your leg? You see I’m not specialized for anything so glamouring you and biting your neck would be a little out of my reach.

Side-Benefit: Waiting for Upgrades strengthens the Kindle community

What an unexpected bonus for Amazon. There are a few big things waiting for the updates does -

  1. Takes attention away from the steady trickle of ‘Look at Me – Just bought another Reader’ people. Nothing says ‘secure in my choice of device’ like having to go to another device’s forum and mention what you bought.
  2. The shared waiting for the upgrade.
  3. People tend to help each other and there’s a natural conversation between those who got the upgrade, those who have snippets of information on the upgrade, and those who are waiting.

 Consider some of the comments -

Chai on Life says:
Thank you Freda
I’m so happy for all of you that have received your update. Admittedly a little green with Envy but still happy for you!

jwr53 says:
It’s so neat that more people are getting the update. Congrats!

antiquary100 says:
Don’t feel bad Corky, you’re not the only one. I’m still waiting (impatiently) for mine! ;)

It’s one big happy family (well, some are happy and the rest are eagerly awaiting happiness). It’s really good to see and hopefully Amazon adds a Kindle to Kindle chat feature and friends network that lets you make Kindle friends.

It’s the most natural thing – there’s already a shared love of reading and everyone has the Kindle with them a lot of the time. Plus there are books to share and talk about. It’d add a whole new dimension to Kindle ownership and a lot of value.

International Amazon Kindle Release Marketing

The amount of marketing space Amazon is giving the Kindle in different countries is really interesting. Especially as Amazon doesn’t really sell the Kindle anywhere except Amazon.com and, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t do much marketing outside of Amazon websites.

There was a post a few weeks ago that talked about how Amazon gave the international kindle front page ads on 4 different Amazon sites (can’t find it now). Well, things have changed since then -

Amazon.com (US) – Prime Placement

The International Kindle and the US Kindle get the best spot on the Amazon.com home page.

  1. There must be lots of sales to justify giving up such prime marketing space.
  2. Amazon clearly favors the US & International version.

Amazon Germany – Next to Nothing.

There’s a strip of Ads on the left hand side below the main menu that lists the Kindle (along with a lightbulb and MP3 downloads). Prime placement goes to Braun’s new series 5 and series 7 shavers (or to a Samsung Refrigerator).

Its really strange that Germany, despite being one of the countries showing the most interest in the International Kindle, is not getting a Kindle release marketing push. 

Here are all the products that are getting more real estate than the Kindle -

  1. Electronics items like Samsung TVs, Western Digital Media Players, etc.
  2. Electronic and Photo Bestsellers including the iPod, Touch, iPod Nano, Canon cameras and printers.
  3. Ed Hardy T-Shirts. Shouldn’t the fashion police put an end to that.
  4. Windows 7.

What could it mean?

  1. Perhaps Amazon will change ads tomorrow – the International Kindle Release Date is October 19th.
  2. Perhaps Braun shavers are selling more than the Kindle.
  3. Perhaps not many Amazon Germany customers are clicking on Kindle ads and buying them from Amazon.com.

Amazon UK – Next to Nothing

Another big surprise – the super lucrative UK market gets just a tiny banner in the top right. That, by the way, is the last place users look due to being trained that the right hand side is for banner ads.

The UK is another country with a lot of interest in the Kindle. Why not push it more?

Instead, Amazon is promoting iPods, Windows 7, video games, and jeans.

Amazon France – Sometimes, a Banner Ad

Amazon France shows a medium sized banner on the top right sometimes.

There hasn’t been as much interest from France so it makes sense that advertising is minimal.

Amazon Japan – Quite a Lot, Good Placement

Japan gets a main page, main column large ad half the time. The other half of the time it gets a strange looking Kindle: Hello World Ad with a lot of text and a small kindle image.

Japan is getting the most marketing push after the US -

  1. It definitely means Kindle Japan is seeing lots of sales – enough to justify main page placement.
  2. It’s a surprise given the Kindle doesn’t even support Japanese (Kanji).

Amazon China, Canada – Nothing

No Kindle advertising on Kindle China and Kindle Canada and not a surprise as Kindle isn’t available in either country.

Why isn’t Amazon coming in all guns blazing?

The international kindle is being billed as quite an event, some people even claiming it’s one of the biggest steps in the evolution of books since the Gutenberg Press (not my words).

And what exactly do we get from Amazon -

  1. No Big Press Conference. 
  2. Hardly any marketing on Amazon Germany, UK, and France.
  3. No marketing outside of Amazon websites (as far as we know).

Which leaves us with three possibilities -

  1. The US & International Kindle is aimed primarily at US customers.
  2. Amazon rushed the release to steal B&N’s thunder, resulting in a somewhat haphazard release.
  3. Amazon have a big, huge marketing pushed slated for the Holiday Season and are focusing their efforts on that.
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