Marketing guru Seth Godin has made a blog post listing a number of interesting suggestions to Amazon for how to win the e-book war. He suggests that Amazon should concentrate on price and come out with a stripped-down $49 “paperback” Kindle, that they could then give away free with purchase of a certain number of Kindle books, or with signing up for an e-book club.
The only way to get authors and publishers to embrace this device is to sell 20,000,000 of them. You either become the best and only platform for consuming books worth buying or you fail. And the only way to create that footprint in the face of an iPad is to make it so cheap to buy and use it’s irresistible.
Godin has long been clueful about e-books. Back in 2001, he gave his book Unleashing the Ideavirus, about marketing via memes, away for free through Peanut Press. (I read it and found it fascinating. I wish I still had the Peanut Press/eReader version, but it has long since vanished from the site. He’s still giving away a PDF of it, though.)
I agree that a $49 e-book reader would be a big advantage for whatever e-book seller is the first to come out with it. At the rate prices are falling overall, it’s probably not more than a year or two away.
Related: Seth Godin on giving away e-books