Friday, December 12, 2008

Creating a Kindle Virus

Interesting idea describing how to increase the market penetration of the Amazon Kindle - in particular with young people. How the Kindle Might Infect Youth Culture | The Urban Elitist
[sic] authors and publishers needed to find a sustainable business model that is most appropriate for whatever reading technology comes to dominate. Interestingly, Amazon allows authors to self-publish to the Kindle and to set their own price, but that’s a topic I’ll cover some other time. What I want to do now is offer Amazon some advice on how the Kindle might effectively infect our culture in the same way the iPod did. If and when the Kindle (or something like it) does come to dominate, I think it will help focus the publishing industry on finding a solution to its long-term problems.

My idea is this: get ‘em while they’re young. Google should sign license agreements with universities (or, even better, consortia of universities) and school districts that will provide unlimited access to all Kindle titles (or perhaps only the lower priced backlist titles) to all faculty and students at the licensed institution. Perhaps the libraries could pay the annual institutional subscription fee, but the users would have to buy their own Kindle. Certainly the technology could be developed, if it doesn’t already exist, so that each device could be verified as belonging to a student or faculty member. Or maybe students would have to go to the library to download books rather than doing it wirelessly (they could set up their own individual accounts if they wanted access to content outside the license agreement). Subscription revenue could be allocated among titles according to usage. And once a student graduated, he or should could keep the Kindle and open an individual account with Amazon.

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