"Compared with online retailers, bookstores present a frustrating consumer experience. A physical store—whether it’s your favorite indie or the humongous Barnes & Noble at the mall—offers a relatively paltry selection, no customer reviews, no reliable way to find what you’re looking for, and a dubious recommendations engine. Amazon suggests books based on others you’ve read; your local store recommends what the employees like. If you don’t choose your movies based on what the guy at the box office recommends, why would you choose your books that way?"
To compare Amazon’s price on that biology textbook listed for $100, a student can use the app to scan the barcode. If Amazon’s price is better, she can simply click the “order” button and the book will be on its way. The company is even offering free two-day shipping for six months to students that decide to use the app.
When the student is done with the book at the end of the semester, she can sell it back to Amazon. The app also allows students to sell other used belongings to the site in exchange for Amazon gift cards. That means if a student has old DVDs, video games, or gadgets, all she has to do is scan the item with the app and the trade-in value will appear. To sweeten the deal, Amazon even covers the cost of shipping the trade-in item.
The HTML5 Kindle site appears to be optimized for the iPad. It’s accessed from the Safari browser in the iPad, so it routes around Apple’s App Store. That means Amazon doesn’t need to give Apple 30% of an eBook sale. Because the HTML5 site is very close to the functionality of the iPad Kindle app, this is going to have huge ramifications for Apple. Yes, Apple’s walled garden has just been structurally weakened. I’d go as far as to say that it’s a matter of months, not years, before Amazon pulls its iOS Kindle app from the App Store.
I find articles like this interesting because they take the perspective that it’s Apple, and not Amazon, that’s somehow the villain here.
For the record:
A) Amazon deliberately sold books at a loss to push their “walled garden” of an ereader into the market leadership position. It worked.
B) Apple’s been very consistent about their position, and if publishers don’t want to use it, they don’t have to. The reason they’re choosing to, is because they can actually make a profit publishing their works on an iOS platform.
C) Amazon’s Kindle prices were nice, but they weren’t good business. You can’t sell content at a loss and expect the providers to sit around being happy. This cutthroat, deliberate business “practice” move significantly contributed to many brick-and-mortar bookstores going out of business (not just the big players; the small mom-and-pop shops too). Amazon has openly gloated about this, and is even running ads on sites like Hulu.com mocking people who would carry physical books.
I swear. Some people just look for open opportunities to criticize a company they don’t like.