I’ve hid my head under the covers hoping that Amazon wouldn’t follow-through…but the day is here.
The Amazon Kindle will be in Target stores this weekend. There tucked in between the Samsonite suitcases and reams of cheap computer paper, the Amazon Kindle will continue to degrade as a brand.
Some think I’m being a little melodramatic but hear me out.
The tragedy is that the Kindle is a incredibly competent device with a great brand story. For it’s entire life, it was sold on Amazon.com cozied up against the world’s largest inventory of books. Everyone Amazon visitor understood exactly what it was and why you should buy one.
The Kindle was a sleek device for serious readers.
Flash forward…and now Apple is successfully head-faking the Amazon management. First, Bezos and crew want to kill update the Kindle with color, apps, and other unnecessary features. Bad move. I want a better reader not another iPad.
Next, they will put the Kindle Brand on display with the other also ran devices in the Target electronics graveyard section. Most people will think that the Kindle is a MP3 Player since there will be absolutely ZERO context for why the Kindle is even in Target. (Hey, Amazon, if you are reading this – have the good sense to put the Kindle in the Target book and magazine section!)
I suddenly feel that Amazon will soon be hawking their wares at a kiosk in the middle of the mall shacking up with ProActiv and retro 60’s sunglasses.
This is wrong.
This may seem like a logical no-brainer for the Amazon marketing team, but somehow they’ve ignored the people who champion their brand and share their story. Kindle Fans loved the fact that you could only buy the Kindle online. We admired Amazon for protecting it’s distribution model to insure that we always received stellar service. (Now their 5-Star customer service reputation will be in the hands of the high-school summer employee). Most of all, we felt that Amazon focused on our needs more than it’s desire to keep up with the Joneses.
By the way. I am not anti-retail. I am anti-generic. If you want to sell the Kindle at the retail level, then man-up, build remarkable stores that make it a joy to read and sell the Kindle. If Amazon want’s to copy Apple, then copy the RIGHT thing!
So Where Do We Go From Here?
Just like a bad relationship, sometimes a Brand has to get these infatuations out of its system. I’m sure Amazon will see the error of its ways around Thanksgiving and then stubbornly hold on through the Holiday season. But hopefully, they will pull out of Target by February. Focus on improving the Kindle’s READING experience (lower page turning times and improve on social bookmarking).
I’m hoping that this rash of short-sightedeness doesn’t turn into a permanent strategy.