eReading: Amazon's Kindle

Posted: 2 Mar 2012

See all articles by Bharat N. Anand

Bharat N. Anand

Harvard University - Strategy Unit

Peter W. Olson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Mary Tripsas

Boston College; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

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.

Suggested Citation

Anand, Bharat N. and Olson, Peter W. and Tripsas, Mary, eReading: Amazon's Kindle (December 9, 2009). Harvard Business School Strategy Unit Case No. 709-486, Available at SSRN:

Bharat N. Anand (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617 495-5082 (Phone)
617 495-0355 (Fax)

Peter W. Olson

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Mary Tripsas

Boston College ( email )

Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

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