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Seth Godin is a National Treasure For His Amazon Kindle Idea
What happens to reading habits when you can buy all the books you want for $40 a month? What happens to book consumption when books become social objects, commented upon by you and your participating friends or network? The conversations surrounding books are often a prime driver behind book sales (“You haven’t read it yet?) and the conversation-enabled Kindle takes that to a whole new level.
Imagine what our nation – our WORLD – could be like if you had all you could read for $40/month? Imagine what would happen to literacy if books became as cheap and as prevalent as every other form of media?
Answer: hard to say, but having a world swamped with good reading is a problem I’d like to have.
We’re seeing this happen with eBooks to a degree already. eBooks have a near zero manufacturing and distribution cost, which means you can make a lot more of them for the same money as a regular book. Imagine if a forward-thinking college professor simply aggregated all the eBooks from a particular industry as a course’s textbooks – no books to buy, no trees to kill, just knowledge.
Food for thought: a recent study in Britain (whose URL eludes me) showed that placing things in a buying position in a cafeteria increased sales of whatever it was that was in the buying position. Junk food sold as well as healthy food, so a cafeteria manager swapped out fried whatever one day for fresh fruits and vegetables, and saw the fresh, healthy food sell as fast as the fried stuff had in the days before.
Imagine if we could get free or low cost eBooks to be as widely available and as convenient as a song on iTunes. Put books in the buying position, and consumers might just buy ’em because they are there and priced right. The societal benefit of increased literacy and increased consumption of knowledge would be vast and far-reaching.
Seth Godin, I hope Amazon reconsiders your offer, and I hope someday to read every book you publish for $40/month.
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