Amazon is very, very good with their strategy and tactics.
This week they announced eBooks are outselling print books.
But why did they announce that this week?
Next week is BookExpo America. The news released then would have made a huge splash, been a seismic shock.
This makes me think that Amazon has an even bigger announcement for next week, to stab the heart of BEA and cause weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Yesterday the tech field was filled with news about Apple’s upcoming Cloud music service.
One blog post in particular got me thinking about how Amazon could switch everyone currently buying ePub over to Kindle books without those people losing anything except their hardware investment. While such investment is not exactly trivial, people usually spend a multiple of that on their books, so it’s the books that contain the most value, not any dedicated device.
Here is how Apple would win over, for example, Amazon Music Store customers:
“But what about the stuff I bought from Amazon? Ripped from CD?” Buy it from Amazon? Rip it from CD? No matter. If iTunes sells it you can stream it.
Now that’s very interesting if it comes to pass.
Apple would basically be saying, “We know you own this music. We didn’t sell it to you, but you paid for it. We’re not going to charge you again for it.”
Amazon could do the same thing.
ePub books from Sony, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble are stored in distinct folders. Some people even use Calibre for their eBook management and that’s a distinct folder too.
What if Amazon released a program that would scan those folders, report the titles back to Amazon, and then let people download Kindle versions of those books without any extra charge, without having to pay for them again?
Publishers cannot expect people to buy their books twice, once for ePub, one for Kindle. Why should they? It’s not the customer’s fault there isn’t a single, universal eBook file format. All the customer wants to do is read. A book is not its container. A book is words. And those were already paid for.
Just as Apple wouldn’t see itself losing money on such a music swapping deal, I think Amazon would see it the same way. They could advocate to publishers on the customer’s behalf. Or, just as they and Google have done with their Cloud music services, entirely ignore the pathetic mewlings of the original property owners and do it anyway.
Amazon has been pimping a trade-in deal for old electronics.
What would be so unusual about one for eBooks?
Now that would be the kind of announcement that would shatter everyone at BEA next week.