eMedia Rant: reduced value = bad business model

I unexpectedly received a Kindle for Christmas. Did I want one – sure! E-Ink, long battery life, always on Sprint EVDO, limited web browsing – it’s a totally cool concept. But with it’s $360 price at or above the cost of a little netbook/subnote – it’s hard to justify. But free is a great price, and I’ve been enjoying trying it out, using it for story reading, browsing, etc – and overall I like it. But the big problem is it doesn’t necessarily make sense for the end user.

Right now, ebooks are deficient to their physical media. Sure, on the Kindle I could carry around hundreds of ebooks, and with that evdo link, I can buy/download books without having to go to the store. But what happens if my kindle breaks, and I want to read my books without spending another $360? What happens if Amazon cancels my account, or goes out of business. Also, what if when I’m done reading the book, I want to loan/give it to a friend or library?

Now the business model could make sense here, especially for things like magazines. But what the people setting the price should realize is that their product is functionally limited and price accordingly. If the ebook/emag has all these limitations but costs half the price – sure, I’d consider it. But when it costs more – then I just feel like I’m getting ripped off.

It’s like when MicroSoft first started offering movie rentals on the xbox360. So, for $20 I can watch a movie for 24 hours? Um, how’s that compare to the Target down the street where I can buy the same thing and watch it forever and resell it or give it away when I’m done – and costs $14.99? Like the way NetFlix moved into the electronic distribution method for it’s movie rentals, ($20/month for unlimited movie rentals at home? That’s a package option consumers can appreciate.) eBooks will probably eventually succeed, but not until the content owners stop trying to price the electronic version as higher than the traditional.

On the other side, watch how the cable companies will try to block NetFlix users while claiming they’re doing ‘network management’.

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