Amazon have done well from the Kindle – a contraption that, for some, seems to look like a relic from 10 years ago, running books produced in a format from 20 years ago. For others though, it’s the peak of human achievement in the field of plastic, e-ink and clumsy button-based technology, justifiably colonising handbags (yes, mostly handbags) across the planet.
But what now for the Kindle? Here are 5 things Amazon might do next.
This post is part of BookMachine’s #kindleweek. Join the debate on Twitter.
Do something about the Kindle spam problem
The Kindle Store, like the rest of the web, is not immune to spam. Even the mighty Google’s search technology seems to be losing the battle, commonly serving up low-quality content loaded with Google-friendly keywords – it’s unsurprising that users are beginning to shift to social media for content discovery. Amazon meanwhile, has found that low-quality spam titles are beginning to clog the pores of the Kindle store. They urgently need to find a way to curb this, and a way that is not at odds with their strategy to encourage self-publishing; everyone might have a book in them, just not necessarily a good book.
Remove the concept of ‘the page‘
The Kindle, like the splendidly kitsch iBooks app, is a transitional technology designed to ease the passing of print (like theatre curtains in cinemas). This shouldn’t last if readers begin to realise that, as the text need no longer be constrained by the dimensions of the page, perhaps the page is not the best format to read a book. Inkling are groundbreakers in this field, with an iPad app that aims to split the book into scrolling blocks of related content.
Build an Android tablet
Many would have you believe this is a dead cert by Christmas. Amazon have all the pieces on the board, now they’re beginning to move them. The Amazon Android App Store has launched (despite some negativity), millions of customer credit cards are on file, ready to be charged with a single click – all Amazon need is their own hardware platform.
While a tablet device would allow Amazon to sell full colour, complex layout books with embedded media content, it would also give them an effective delivery mechanism for their cloud music and storage services, and act as an ideal storefront in every living room for Amazon’s physical products (like the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt). To compete with the Barnes and Noble Nook in the States, they’d need to set the price point low, and perhaps even sell as a loss leader, but it’d certainly be worth it in the long-run.
Don’t build an Android tablet, build a Kindle with colour e-ink and touchscreen instead
This is less likely than an Amazon tablet, as despite the existence of the first colour e-ink device, Mr Bezos is not yet convinced of the technology. An alternative could be a hybrid e-ink-LCD screen, allowing videos to be played. Either way, it’s likely to be an expensive proposition to the customer.
Build an Amazon Author-Bot (ok, not really)
They’ve gone after the retailers,and now they’re moving in on the traditional publishers territory. With outfits such as Seth Godin’s Domino Project springing from the loins of Amazon’s new publishing body, the company is out to take over the entire process end-to-end. What’s left? Replace authors with the Amazon Author-Bot.
What do you think will be Amazon’s next move? Join in the #kindleweek debate on Twitter.