The Amazon Kindle Goes From Strength To Strength

By Adam Kinross

The Kindle e-book reader has been a phenomenally successful product for Amazon. It's currently the best selling product on the Amazon site. Amazon has a 60% share of the U.S. e-book reader market and both the Kindle 2.0 and its larger sibling the DX are now available internationally - extending Amazon's reach and hugely increasing their potential customer base.

Currently, Amazon's major competition comes from Sony, who have a considerably smaller but nonetheless very respectable 35% share of the market. There are a whole raft of other manufacturers who, having seen the way that the e-book reader market has taken off, are now eager to secure a share of the profits for themselves. This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, for the first time ever, had a special section just for e-book readers. It's a very clear signal of the potential for growth that industry analysts are predicting in the sector.

However, what many of these e-book reader wannabes may be overlooking is the fact that the technical aspects of the hardware, whilst undoubtedly important, are only one part of the equation. The success of Amazon's Kindle reader thus far has been due to a variety of different factors over and above its technical specification. Amazon is in an almost unique position which gives it several advantages when it comes to marketing e-books and e-book readers.

Amazon is, after all, the biggest book seller in the world. As far as potential customers are concerned, it has a good pedigree when it comes to books. There is also a very strong association with consumer electronic devices - electrical gadgets in other words. This has been earned as a merchant - but nevertheless, the link is there. Amazon is, in the opinion of the buying public, a highly trusted purveyor of both books and electronic items.

The fact of the matter is that any manufacturer who imagines that they will be able to displace Amazon from the number one slot, or even to make serious volumes of sales, simply by producing a reader which has a slightly better technical specification is probably going to be somewhat disappointed when the sales figures start coming in. It will probably require another household name, who also has earned a good deal of consumer trust over a period of years, to make any significant inroads into Amazon's sales. Microsoft or Apple could be contenders, and both of these companies have readers - or devices which could serve as readers - under development. Sony's already established association with e-book readers, combined with their current market share, means that they must be viewed as a serious contender in future. Barnes and Nobles book selling credentials could also stand them in good stead.

It certainly doesn't look as if some small electronics manufacturer is going to make serious inroads in the market any time soon. Partnerships, such as Barnes and Noble's agreement to provide e-books for Plastic Logic's Que reader (due out in April 2010) could produce some surprises. However, it's hard to see what will now stop the Kindle reader from actually becoming the iPod of books, as has been predicted for some time now. - 33374

About the Author:

Sign Up for our Free Newsletter

Enter email address here