One year is a relatively short period of time but represents an eternity when evaluating the products offered in the nascent market for electronic reading devices. One year ago, there was much excitement regarding the potential for the Kindle DX to revolutionize the market for textbooks. The Kindle DX is a larger version of Amazon.com’s popular Kindle device which is more suitable for larger formats such as textbooks. Several business schools aggressively rolled out materials specifically designed for the Kindle DX. The results of the experiment are now in and according to the Financial Times, the device has received very mixed reviews. Read this article for more details.
Rupert Murdoch has an enduring devotion to newspapers and is eager to extend his key franchises from print to emerging digital formats. Mr. Murdoch has embraced Apple’s iPad tablet device for delivery of News Corporation’s Wall Street Journal and The Times of London. However, long before the iPad emerged on the scene, The Wall Street Journal was one of the only newspapers that succeeded in operating a website with mostly paid content. The Financial Times reports that News Corporation has sold 10,000 iPad subscriptions at $17.29 per month and 5,000 subscriptions to The Times of London for £9.99 per month. The one sticking point for many Wall Street Journal subscribers? Print can often be a cheaper alternative which rankles consumers who expect to share in the benefits of lower production and delivery costs. Read this article for more details.
Has the tipping point been reached in the transition from printed hardcover books to e-books? It appears that this might be the case based on statistics released by Amazon.com in a press release today. According to the company, for every 100 hardcover books sold over the past month, 183 Kindle books were sold. This does not include free Kindle books but does include sales of hardcovers where there is no Kindle book equivalent.
Anyone who dreads the prospect of spending an hour in the local grocery store is a natural potential customer for online grocers who promise to bring the goods to your home at a predetermined time. This is particularly true for customers in urban locations where the selection in grocery stores often leaves much to be desired and carrying bags home without a car can be unappealing. With what appears to be a natural customer base, why have nearly all online grocers failed to come up with a profitable business model?
Tony Hsieh is known for taking an unconventional approach to management. Nothing proves this point more clearly than his standing offer to pay new hires at Zappos $2,000 on their first day of work if they agree to quit. The logic is that he would rather not have employees working at Zappos who are inclined to accept such a short sighted offer. When Mr. Hsieh sold Zappos to Amazon.com for $1.2 billion last year, he insisted on unconventional terms as well.