Why Does Amazon Now Own The Ebook Market?

Why Amazon Now Owns The Ebook Market

Because its competitors are totally inept

With the news that Barnes & Noble has abandoned their UK customers by selling off Nook to a, wait for it, a supermarket chain, one can only scratch one’s head.

How far has Barnes & Noble, the once major competitor to Amazon Kindle fallen?

The announcement that Sainsbury’s, a UK supermarket chain will take over Nook in the UK is so surreal, it should have been announced on April 1st.

However, Barnes & Noble has spent a long time perfecting the art of killing its own ebook business by alienating its customer base, as this article, B&N Nook is Failing Because They Make Customers Hate Them, clearly describes. 

To add to the disappointment of reading about this major failing of a company that had all the tools, technology and market penetration to succeed at competing with Amazon Kindle, I had the ugly experience today of reading an ebook on Apple iBooks on my iPad.

While I have to admit that I usually use the Kindle app on my iPad, I had never differentiated between the two. Until today.

For some odd technical reason, probably only known to Apple engineers, who haven’t bothered yet to fix it, reading my ebook was a pain in the butt.

After reading ten pages, with my setting of a sepia background and large font for my old eyes, the iBooks app flashed and changed to white, standard size serif text, on a black background. A very ugly setting.

After killing the app and starting it again, it returned to my settings, but it had lost my place in the ebook, so I had to scroll through pages until I found the page I had been reading.

That is, until I read another ten pages, and the app went back to white on black. This time I restarted my iPad, and tried again.

Guess what. Another ten pages of reading, and yep, white on black again. I gave up, and started reading another ebook on my iPad’s Kindle app.

So in one day of reading the news, and trying to read an ebook on Apple, it is any wonder why Amazon owns the ebook market?

In my opinion, for what it’s worth, ebooks are a pretty simple product to take to market.

But it seems that only one retailer has figured out how to do it successfully.

Have a huge selection of ebooks across all genres, make the ebooks easy to buy, download and read on almost any device, have special offers, freebies, a loyalty program, a subscription service, and most important of all, don’t piss off your customers.

There is now a long line of failures in ebook retailing, including the originator, Sony, who failed to understand how simple it all was.

Quite simply, don’t upset customers by making the buying, storing and reading of ebooks a pain in the butt. Too simple?

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

2 thoughts on “Why Does Amazon Now Own The Ebook Market?

  • You had a very bad and no doubt frustrating experience, but I wonder….One bad apple (experience) won’t spoil the whole bunch?
    I love Amazon and my kindle, but lots of people have iPhones (I don’t) and iPads so it’s good that there’s a choice for those that don’t have dedicated e-readers to still be able to read the many millions of available e-books in whatever platform works. It sucks when there are frustrations like yours, and I wonder if there are lots of people experiencing the same thing? Do you know?

    Reply
  • A few years ago I wrote a novel.
    It was critically well-received, liked by the public and became a Kindle best seller.
    I tried to marked it on Nook but after 35 minutes of following many links — several of them ending in dead pages — I gave up.
    I sent an eMail asking how I could market on Nook and (two years later) am still waiting for a reply.
    I would have to say poor customer service and a web site that is poorly thought out, is a major problem.
    I say this as well from looking at it from a purely customer point-of-view. The material covering any book is scanty. It does not give me the assurance I need to make a purchase. Although the web site is certainly attractive, it just doesn’t work.

    Reply

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