Did the Agency Pricing Model + Kindle Apps => Amazon Victory?
Yes - I was one of the many voices bewailing the Agency Pricing Model imposed upon Amazon by the major publishers, and have browsed drop-jawed at some of the current asking prices for ebooks at Amazon and other ebook venues.
And yes - I have opposed both Amazon's proprietary ebook formats and DRM.
And yes - I have slogged though all those announcements of "Kindle Killers"
But after reading the latest news release from Amazon regarding ebook sales, Kindle sales, etc. - and the eclipse of hardback sales by ebook sales - and the overwhelming sales performance of major authors on Amazon - I began to see that a combination of factors is virtually guaranteeing Amazon's success in the ebook sales market - regardless of exclusionary DRM, exclusionary format, etc. These are:
1. Imposing agency pricing on all ebook retailers removes the ability of individual stores to offer pricing deals, membership rewards, or any perks that could differentiate it from other retailers, or attract buyers to it. The market largely becomes one of buying from the store that carries titles for your reading device. If there are no pricing breaks available in the independent or multi-format stores, why buy outside of Amazon and go to the trouble of de-DRMing, file conversion, etc? Especially given the track record of Amazon Customer Service and the depth of the Kindle books store?
Speaking of DRM & exclusionary formats:
2. Amazon's reading apps now gives you the option to read your Amazon ebooks on virtually all phones, PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhone, etc. The old arguments of "What is Amazon stops making Kindles?" or "Why should you have to buy a Kindle to read ebooks from Amazon?" become largely irrelevant. For average (non-techie) readers - does DRM really matter anymore if they can read their books on any or all of their digital devices?
The only remaining problem from DRM/exclusive formatting is the inability to move Amazon books onto other ereaders. How important is this?
Speaking of which
3. The blanketing of the ebook market with Kindles - esp. in light of the recent price cuts/price wars in the 6" screen models. Amazon was the only manufacturer to meet all Xmas orders in 2009. Amazon is progressively going global. The recent Woot sell-out of Kindles allegedly moved thousands of units. Warehouse deals on refurbished units sell out in less than a day. Can any other manufacturer really match this ability to provide readers in these quantities at a comparable low price?
Plus - with the launch of the DX Graphite - Amazon continues its focus on improving the reading experience itself, still focused on the page.
But what about the Apple challenge?
With K4iPad, K4iPhone, etc - is there really a challenge?
The launch of the iPad hasn't killed the Kindle.
What about the Google challenge?
With K4Android, etc. - is there really a challenge?
No - I'm not a covert Amazon agent. But the latest round of news set me thinking as to the long term effects of all the events in the past year or so that were supposed to "teach Amazon a lesson" or impact Amazon's sales. Seems to have produced just the opposite effect.