Although much talk about Apple’s recent announcement revolves around the new iPhone, CEO Steve Jobs had some interesting news concerning its long-standing competition with Amazon over the future of publishing. The iPad has spurred 5 million e-book downloads since the tablet device was introduced 65 days ago, giving the Cupertino, Calif. company 22 percent of the e-book market, Jobs claimed.
While Gartner slammed those numbers as being produced by “some sort of voodoo algorithm,” they prompted one writer to suggest Amazon needs to take another tact in selling its Kindle e-reader: an electronic version of the paperback book. The Seattle-based Internet bookseller should cut the Kindle’s price to $49 – or even give it away – to combat the iPad, Seth Godin wrote at his blog. Godwin told the Wall Street Journal Amazon cannot directly take-on Apple’s hardware. “If all Amazon does is try to come up with something sort of like an iPad but less colorful, they are going to fail,” he said.
In May, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said a color Kindle won’t appear soon, saying a color version of the e-ink technology used in the e-reader was “not ready for prime-time production.”
Instead, Amazon needs to remember its profits come not from hardware sales, like Apple, but e-books. The Kindle could even be offered free when people buy an e-book, creating what Godwin called a “Kindle of the Month” club.
Amazon has taken steps toward the “paperback Kindle” concept. Chipmaker Freescale is preparing a processor that could drop the Kindle’s price to below $150, according to a March report. Also, Amazon is experimenting with giving away Kindles to its best customers, a blogger reported earlier this year.