Kindle Marketing Lessons

May 29, 2009

Amazon’s Kindle e-Book Reader Shows You What NOT To Do

I love my Kindle. The one I have is the first generation and I have been using it for almost one year now. An avid reader, I’m always reading two or three books at the same time and the Kindle’s simplicity and storage capacity (hundreds of books!) appealed to me.

What I hate about the Kindle has more to do with Amazon.com’s practices than the device itself. So here are a couple of important lessons we marketers can all learn from their mistakes: Kindle Lessons

Kindle Lesson Number 1: Integrate Your Sales Channels

For almost 10 years I’ve been a loyal Wall Street Journal subscriber. Initially I got the paper version of WSJ and later was an avid reader of WSJ.com. When I got the Kindle, one of the first things I wanted to do was to get the Wall Street Journal delivered to my e-Book, and Amazon was offering it. The problem, however, was that when I tried to switch my WSJ.com online subscription to the Kindle subscription I was told that they couldn’t do that. What?! I had to cancel my wsj.com subscription, then sign up for the Kindle subscription. Isn’t that unbelievable?

Why would you make it difficult for a loyal customer to continue using your product? And better, yet, why would you make it difficult for a customer to start using a more expensive product (the Kindle version was more expensive than the online journal)? When planning your sales channels, the more integrated they are, the better your chances of acquiring and keeping customers.

Kindle Lesson Number 2: Greed Will Kill You

Even with all the hassle of signing up to read the WSJ on my Kindle, I was a happy camper. Every morning I turned it on and read my electronic newspaper. Until that day when I got an email from Amazon.com announcing they were increasing the price of the WSJ Kindle subscription by 50%. FIFTY percent!

I simply cancelled my Kindle WSJ subscription, as apparently hundreds of others did. Not only that, but the Kindle forum at Amazon.com’s website has irate customers venting their frustrations with the price hike and talking about collateral damage as they cancel other Kindle subscriptions.

Why would Amazon increase the price substantially without giving customers any additional benefit is still a controversial subject, but the lesson is clear: Unless you have a good reason (i.e. additional features, more convenience, better value, etc.) to give your customer a huge price increase, you will not only risk losing him but will also get a very bad reputation, which could bankrupt you.

Granted, Amazon.com doesn’t care if hordes of Kindle users cancel their WSJ subscription as long as they keep purchasing books through the site, but if you are not so lucky as to be the size of Amazon.com, just remember these simple yet powerful lessons.

Thank you, Amazon, for teaching us a lesson. Now go f@%$! yourself.


%d bloggers like this: