Please Note: We still don’t have any confirmation that Oprah will recommend the Kindle today. An Oprah Kindle recommendation is likely but not a given.
That being said here are 7 things Oprah could do for the Kindle if she recommends it –
Make Kindle cool again. The Press has started a recent non-stop attack touting Tablets over the Kindle. More people trust Oprah and she’d instantly tilt things in favor of the Kindle.
Make a ton of people aware that a $139 Kindle is available and that it looks great (screen wise). A lot of people still don’t know what eInk is or what it looks like.
Cause the Kindle to go out of stock within a few days. Kindle is out of stock outside the US and UK and an Oprah Kindle recommendation is likely to tap out the US supply completely.
Sell a million Kindles in a week. It’d be the fastest Kindles have ever sold – you can be sure Amazon will find 3 different super-vague Press Releases to send out (Most eReaders ever sold by a Talk Show Host, Most Kindles ever sold in a 17 minute stretch, Most copies of Charles Dickens ever sold to Franzen fans).
Knock Nook back. With the Nook Color B&N has a potential winner on its hands – numerous articles and blogs are touting it as better than Kindle and iPad. Oprah recommending Kindle would make a lot of people forget all the Nook buzz.
Show that Amazon is concerned enough to pull out its trump card. Amazon has been doing things it doesn’t usually do – Black Friday Kindle deal, TV Ads, TV Ads for Kindle reading apps. If it also asks for Oprah’s help with the Kindle you know it’s worried.
Send a signal that a new Kindle is around the corner. Last time Oprah stepped in (October 2008) it was a Kindle 1 stock clear-out move and we saw the Kindle 2 arrive in February 2009. Might there be a color screen Kindle 4 slated for an early 2011 release?
It’s not just the fact that Oprah might recommend a Kindle that’s intriguing. The way Oprah talks about the Kindle and what Amazon does will reveal a lot –
If there’s a Kindle coupon or a Kindle discount then it gives a lot of credence to both the ‘Amazon is very worried’ theory and the ‘there’s a new Kindle 4 arriving in early 2011’ theory.
If there’s no Kindle coupon (which seems extremely unlikely) then it might mean Amazon just wants to get back people’s attention.
If Oprah positions Kindle as a reading device for everyone and focuses on Kindle WiFi it would suggest that Amazon sees Kindle WiFi as ‘the Kindle that everyone has’.
If Oprah positions Kindle as a reading device for book lovers and/or focuses on the Kindle 3 it would suggest Amazon is more interested in wrapping up the dedicated book lovers market.
If Oprah doesn’t recommend a Kindle then it’d be a blow for Amazon – especially since Oprah picked the iPad as her ‘favorite gadget ever’ just a week ago.
For me the presence of a Kindle coupon or Kindle discount (or an absence) and Oprah’s words (how they position the Kindle) will be the most important parts of the Oprah Kindle recommendation. They’ll reveal a ton about Amazon’s feelings regarding where the Kindle stands and where Amazon wants to go with the Kindle.
Here’s why a Kindle 3 release and another Oprah Kindle endorsement are pretty likely this year –
It’ll be 9 months since the Kindle 2.
The Kindle 2 was supposedly delayed from an original October/November 2008 scheduled release date.
Oprah Kindle worked once. And by worked we mean Kindle sales sky-rocketed and the Kindle was sold out for most of the holiday season.
Supposed great rapport between Jeff Bezos and Oprah.
An early release of Kindle 3 would be a huge advantage for Amazon over current and upcoming competitors.
Amazon knows very well that this holiday season might determine who wins the long term battle for the future of publishing.
Amazon also knows that as Publishers get more options they will try to create a level playing field for eReaders and wrest back control of publishing. The Kindle’s window of opportunity is rapidly closing and it needs to get as much market share as it can in the next 1 to 2 years.
Thoughts – Oprah Kindle 3 endorsement likelihood
There is a lot more Kindle and ereader awareness this year. That’s on the positive side. The negative changes are –
Users getting overwhelmed by sheer number of product offerings.
The promise of the Apple eReader.
Lots of negative attacks by the main stream bloggers and media.
Sony pushing open formats and free google books and free library ebooks.
Basically, users are overwhelmed by the options and confused by the attacks on the Kindle. There are three ways to counter this –
Letting users use the Kindle in person. Hence, the recent Amazon note on trying out Kindles for 30 days.
Endorsements of friends and family who own a Kindle.
Endorsements of trusted people.
One or more of these factors is enough to overwhelm 10 anti-Kindle articles complaining about DRM and ePub and other things end users don’t really care about.
However, one or more of these factors is needed. The most scalable option for the Kindle would be to get endorsements from people who are trusted, and whose endorsement would hold a lot of weight –
Perhaps send out free kindles to President Obama’s family. Michelle Obama or one of the Obama girls using a Kindle would instantly double sales.
Perhaps get an endorsement from a pastor like Joel Osteen.
Gurus with followings like Anthony Robbins. People pay $10,000 for his ‘shallow hal’ conferences – surely $299 for a Kindle is doable.
Get big name authors and journalists on-board.
Another natural candidate is Tyra Banks who is also earning a following with her talk show.
Perhaps Bill and Hillary Clinton.
While these are all good options and options that should be exercised, the trump card is still Oprah.
Except perhaps for President Obama, no one has the pull of Oprah – Why change a winning strategy?
An Oprah Kindle 3 endorsement is very likely – my money’s on November 2009, despite all of Amazon’s protests that there is no Kindle 3 this year.
29th October, 2008: If you’re just looking for the $50 off Kindle coupon, use oprah kindle coupon: OPRAHWINFREY. It’s only valid till Nov 1st. The rest of this article discusses the impact that Oprah’s recommendation has had on kindle sales. And some analysis of what effects kindle’s oprah love will have.
October 27th Update: News of Oprah’s recommendation and the accompanying Oprah kindle discount code continues to spread. In the 2 days since I wrote this article there have been a LOT of websites that have featured the discount code and a few that have talked about Oprah as being the Kindle savior, and about the Kindle being Oprah’s favrite gadget and what it means.
And the effect is beginning to show up on Google Trends – Not since the release of the Kindle, has there been this much interest. Both Kindle and Amazon Kindle show the exact same graph so it seems Google is rolling in the two (and perhaps other search terms) to give a comprehensive picture of interest in the Kindle.
As far as interest in the Kindle – continues to be high. Traffic to my blog is still at 3 times what it was before the Oprah recommendation. The number of people searching specifically for Oprah’s favorite gadget has gone down, although ‘oprah kindle’, and ‘kindle oprah’ are still popular searches.
This is a rather limited discussion and extremely unscientific. However, in the absence of figures from Amazon, I feel this is the closest we can get to an early assessment of the Oprah Effect on the Kindle. If you’re looking for the Kindle’s Amazon product page use this link. There are 4 main benefits that will derive for the Kindle and Amazon from Oprah’s ringing endorsement of the Kindle as her favorite gadget –
Short Term Kindle Interest and Product Awareness
Google Trends registers no significant increase in interest in the kindle – neither web searches nor news items. It doesn’t show up as a hot trend either. This is really strange given that people that were featured on Oprah earlier in the week do. So let’s move on to other indicators.
There have been a ton of articles discussing Oprah’s Kindle love fest, including New York Times, Financial Times (UK), Information Week, Wired News, CNET News, Guardian (UK), Register (UK) and many more. A multitude of deal sites are highlighting the Kindle voucher code, and dozens (perhaps hundreds) of bloggers are blogging about it. Many widely read blogs like Henry Blodget, Crunchgear, Slashdot have also written about it.
Million of people will be exposed not only to the kindle, but also to the fact that it is endorsed by Oprah. Additionally, this really increases the number of websites linking to, and talking about, the Kindle and has a huge positive long term effect.
In terms of increased interest, my blog traffic went up intially to double and then to quadruple.
22nd – normal traffic.
23rd – Traffic approximately doubles.
24th – Traffic quadruples. nearly the whole increase in traffic is people looking for Oprah’s favorite gadget.
25th – Traffic is quadruple.
26th – Traffic is triple.
27th – Traffic is looking like it’ll be triple what it’d be. This might have been affected by a page loading problem I was having (thanks Vodpod) or not.
Mind you, my blog doesn’t rank at the top of google for amazon kindle, and kindle – the terms that almost certainly saw the largest increases. So there’s a pretty high chance the quadruple increase in traffic is actually an under-representation of the Oprah effect. Add in people going straight to Amazon, and from other websites like Oprah’s site, and we’re talking about a really huge increase in people visiting the Kindle: Amazon product page.
Increased Kindle Purchases in the short term due to Oprah’s Kindle recommendation.
While the number of people visiting my blog quadrupled on Friday (and is staying at quadruple levels on Saturday) the number of people visiting the Amazon Kindle page has exploded – 40 times the normal number. I can’t talk about conversion figures so I’ll leave that guessing to you. However, suffice it to say that people are not just stopping to see what Oprah’s favorite gadget is – they’re going to Amazon to get all the information – to a Kindle product page that has 5,100+ reviews and an overall 4 stars out of 5 rating.
Also, the $50 off Kindle voucher really has an impact. There are quite a few more searches for Kindle discounts and the $50 addresses the key price point barrier to some extent. $309 is a much easier price to stomach than $359. This combination of two factors – Oprah’s recommendation and a lower price – definitely would increase the likelihood of a purchase.
If I had to hazard a guess at exactly how many purchases will be made in the last 10 days of October I’d guess approximately 105,000 – triple of what the best conservative guesstimate monthly sale rate is.
A telling fact is that the Kindle is still in stock. This means that the number of sales is not explosive enough to outpace Amazon’s existing stock. It’s important to keep in mind that the number of Kindle displays Amazon can get every month is severely restricted and therefore a validation of the 105,000 more Kindles sold figure would be the Kindle becoming out of stock sometime in the next 5-10 days.
The huge spike in Kindle interest and potentially in Kindle sales is of course a short term effect. So lets look at what the long term ramifications are –
Increased Kindle Purchases in the long term due to Oprah’s recommendation.
Contrary to the adage ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ research has shown that the more we see of something or someone the more we like it. This is the reason that advertisers and marketers are trying to get multiple favorable product impressions on audiences.
Millions of people knew about the Kindle and now they see Oprah’s positive endorsement. Millions more have their first exposure to the Kindle, and its a hugely positive one thanks to Oprah saying ‘it changed her life’. Amazon’s main page is waiting to remind them of it. Even more will see Oprah’s endorsement on Amazon’s main page and read about it in newspapers and blogs. This is not an advertisement – it really is a solid endorsement. There is no exchange of money and there is no reason for Oprah to make up her love for the Kindle. Oprah’s recommendation holds a ton of weight amongst people, and even more so amongst Amazon’s target audience for the Kindle.
Also, an endorsement for the Kindle makes the gap between the Kindle and the Sony even bigger. It really is Oprah + free wireless + Amazon’s store versus Sony’s new device.
Increase in the Number of Amazon Kindle Owners and spread of the Kindle Gospel
Most Kindle owners love the Kindle – just check out the kindle social network. The more people that own the Kindle, more word will spread. Amazon has a ‘See a Kindle in Your City’ forum – people love the Kindle so much they’re willing to show it off to others for free.