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Old 03-12-2009, 01:40 PM   #1
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Seth Godin's Kindle Ideas

Didn't see this mentioned on the forums so I thought I'd kick off a discussion on some of Seth Godin's ideas for improving the Kindle. To summarize, he suggests ways to share books and increase sales. I love the idea of being able to share the book with friends, with permission from the author/publisher. He didn't mention this specifically, but it'd be a killer feature for the Kindle iPhone app, which has a much higher penetration.

Some other interesting ideas from him:
  • Opt-in for automatic download of samples from authors or publishers
  • All you can read subscription model
  • Ship Kindle with X dollars worth of books - opted in by authors

The things we could do with the Kindle that don't require any hardware changes, just a change in thinking by the publishers, authors, and Amazon.
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Old 03-12-2009, 02:32 PM   #2
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If there had been a Stephen King Edition of the Kindle with all of his works included (at a greatly reduced price though more than the $359 Kindle price), I would have been all over it.

Otherwise, I prefer to pick and choose my content. I hate when my computers ship with software I don't want and will never use.

I'm not big on book sharing (I'm selfish that way ). The subscription model migh be something people would jump on. The auto sample download would not be useful to me for authors I really like. I use samples for new authors I'm unsure of.

I would love to see book bundles. There are some long running series books (like "In Death") where I would like to purchase 3 or 4 in a bundle at a reduced price (with some control over which books are in my bundle).
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Old 03-12-2009, 02:49 PM   #3
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Netflix/Gamefly type subscription services for any of the dedicated devices would be pretty sweet.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:09 PM   #4
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Netflix/Gamefly type subscription services for any of the dedicated devices would be pretty sweet.
I have something similiar to that for my Sony. It's the public library.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:23 PM   #5
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He mentions Facebook connect, but you could also have a Twitter functionality where you could tweet what you read and a quick opinion and it would automatically include a link in the Kindle store for other Kindle owners or people with the iPhone client.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:25 PM   #6
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The only problem with blindly buying Kindle books for a specific author is that occasionally, one of the books will be formatted horribly. Also, one series I know of has the middle book in a not-very-good Topaz edition, while the rest are regular books. Having been burned a couple of times, I pretty much get samples of everything now, before buying.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susan_cassidy View Post
The only problem with blindly buying Kindle books for a specific author is that occasionally, one of the books will be formatted horribly. Also, one series I know of has the middle book in a not-very-good Topaz edition, while the rest are regular books. Having been burned a couple of times, I pretty much get samples of everything now, before buying.
If you complain to Amazon about the formatting, they typically give you a refund.
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Old 03-12-2009, 04:14 PM   #8
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Otherwise, I prefer to pick and choose my content. I hate when my computers ship with software I don't want and will never use.
Well, removing books is a whole lot easier than uninstalling crap software. The other difference is that the former is the actual product, whereas the latter is often a limited version intended to hook you into paying (via cash or eyeballs or click-throughs).

While the idea is about making distribution easier, I wonder if authors can offer a free download from their website? While not as easy as bundling it in the Kindle, it's still a way to get the book out. I'm going to comment on Godin's blog and ask him to post a few books for free, since he offered to do so if Amazon went with the free bundling idea.
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Old 03-12-2009, 04:26 PM   #9
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Ok, I emailed Seth Godin and got a lightning fast response:

"because having my ebook on 300,000 kindles is different than giving my book to 1,000 people who might take it from my site

part of the power here is mass"

I see his point, people who were going to buy his books anyways may end up downloading it for free and he'd lose out on a sale. So his point being authors are willing to sacrifice some revenue in exchange for mass distribution.
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Old 03-12-2009, 05:14 PM   #10
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Sharing books between Kindles would be great.
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Old 03-12-2009, 05:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwjones View Post
Netflix/Gamefly type subscription services for any of the dedicated devices would be pretty sweet.
It just makes sense to me. Even if it were a "rental" situation for books. 0.99 micro transaction to rent a book for a month or something like that. seems like a solid idea to me.
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:04 PM   #12
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Ok, I emailed Seth Godin and got a lightning fast response:

"because having my ebook on 300,000 kindles is different than giving my book to 1,000 people who might take it from my site

part of the power here is mass"

I see his point, people who were going to buy his books anyways may end up downloading it for free and he'd lose out on a sale. So his point being authors are willing to sacrifice some revenue in exchange for mass distribution.
Wouldn't the point be to find new readers (customers)? I became a fan of Cherie Priest because TOR gave away one of her books as an ebook last summer. So far the rest of her books are only available in paper. If they were available as ebooks, I would have purchased them already.
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:13 PM   #13
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Sharing books between Kindles would be great.
I understand why they want to restrict it some since it would be easy to share books with thousands of your dearest "friends", but I think they could come up with some reasonable restrictions that would keep it financially feasible.

They could let you use a time-limited DRM to loan books like libraries do or limit the number of times a month you could loan out books. Or maybe they could use social networking idea like the author mentions and let you have a network of other friends who own Kindles on other accounts that you could do some sharing with. My sister and one of my cousins also have Kindles. We have similar tastes. It irks me that I can't loan them a book like I would if it were a paper object. It's not practical for us to share an Amazon account. It's even a bit of a pain for my husband and I to share. Funny thing is I was able to include his account in my Prime membership so they do have an ability to draw relationships between accounts.
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:43 PM   #14
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Some of the ideas he suggested sound promising, but they would definitely need to be well thought out. This is especially true for “book sharing”; there would need to be some sort of time bomb, otherwise people would keep the books indefinitely, and what’s to stop a person from lending someone else the book over and over? Lots of little things like that.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:40 PM   #15
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I had a thought on book sharing--right now there's no percentage in it for Amazon (aside from good publicity and people perhaps valuing Kindles a little more, granted). What if there was an immediate payoff? What if you could share a book for a fee--like 25 cents to "loan" it to to a friend's Kindle for a month? They tell your Kindle to delete it, load it onto your friend's Kindle for the specified duration, and when the time is up--poof! It comes back (deleted off your friend's Kindle, reloaded on yours. It's great for you--your friend can't even mislay the book. And in the meantime your friend gets to read it and see if she likes it.
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