eReading: Amazon's Kindle
Posted: 2 Mar 2012
Date Written: December 9, 2009
In November 2007, Amazon introduced the Kindle, the first electronic reader with wireless functionality. The case describes the launch of the Kindle and provides information on representative players in the industry (or broader ecosystem) who are likely to be affected, and react: including Penguin (the leading educational publisher), Barnes & Noble (the largest bricks & mortar retailer), Apple and Sony (as manufacturers of competing devices), Google (as a major provider of free e-content) and Adobe (as a competitor in creating an e-book standard).
Learning Objective: (i) The case presents a powerful setting to examine how new media affects traditional media firms, and is of direct interest to the publishing industry. (ii) The case can be used to examine how a new technology can potentially reshape industry structure, and how existing players should react. A particularly interesting aspect is how players' reactions may be shaped the actions of others in the ecosystem - in this case, how a publisher's response depends on the moves of bricks-and-mortar retailers, device manufacturers, competing providers of e-content, or competitors for e-book standards. Useful concepts are the pricing of complements, and open versus closed standards.
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