Round up #269: how Amazon spent the summer, AmazonShack?
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Should Amazon buy Radio Shack?
Several articles are talking about Rob Peck of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey’s suggestion that Amazon could buy Radio Shack if the latter declares bankruptcy. Here’s one that I thought had a good discussion of the idea:
I don’t really see it. They certainly don’t want the name or the operating strategy. Generally, when Amazon takes over a business (IMDb, GoodReads, Zappos) it keeps the name and the business runners…and the basic system.
Would owning the physical stores do them any good? Well, first, that would depend on the leases, but let’s skip that.
Many Radio Shacks now are tiny, and they don’t seem to me to have a good layout. I don’t think people would go to an old location out of habit, and then shop at an Amazon store.
They are in expensive malls in many cases.
I suppose they could become lockers, where you can pick up your Amazon orders in your town, but it doesn’t seem like the most efficient place to do it.
Would a strictly Amazon hardware place work? Kindles, Kindle Fires, Fire TVs, Fire Phones? Nope, I don’t see it…maybe as a pop up store at the holidays, but not year round.
It’s not to Amazon’s advantage to encourage you to go to physical stores. They live online…it would be like a shark trying to stalk a New York alley. ;)
Who had a bad summer?
I think you’d be hard pressed to find another three month period that was so negative for Amazon, in terms of public relations. Yes, people didn’t like it when Amazon removed a George Orwell book from their Kindles, and they are still having some repercussions from that, but generally, they got past it.
Recently (in the September 5th issue), Entertainment Weekly did a Summer Winners & Losers piece. In the books category, they classified Amazon as a loser, saying in part that they had made enemies of “…book publishers, the German Government, George Orwell’s estate, and Stephen Colbert — to name a few.”
is being pegged (prematurely, in my opinion) as a loser. I have one myself, and there are some real attractions to it. I’ve recently used Firefly a few times to identify TV shows: worked great! Within about ten seconds, it could tell me the name of the episode, who the actors are, and so on. I suspect Amazon will give it three years…if developers start really building for Firefly and dy-per (dynamic perspective), I think it could be a solid 15% player in the SmartPhone market…and a much bigger moneymaker than that for Amazon.
However, Amazon’s success (in terms of sales and market share, not profit) has depended to a large extent, in my opinion, on good will with customers. It doesn’t help that many of the customers’ favorite authors are part of Authors United, which is about to send a new letter to the Amazon boardmembers. You can read the letter here:
It’s worth reading. They make some important points, including that many of them are not Hachette authors, and are therefore not directly impacted by what I call the Hachazon war.
I think this short excerpt from the letter sums up the argument:
“Since its founding, Amazon has been a highly regarded and progressive brand. But if this is how Amazon continues to treat the literary community, how long will the company’s fine reputation last?”
Going to the Board (and publishing their contact information) is an interesting tactic. The Board could pressure the company to change a position.
That’s not to say that I agree with everything in the letter. Amusingly, they suggest that Amazon can’t be forced into doing anything. I say that’s amusing, because Amazon has in the past always lost when they’ve gone up against the big publishers…text-to-speech and the Agency Model are two good examples. In the latter case, it took the Department of Justice to make a change.
That history might be part of what may have convinced Amazon to do an “end around”…to try to keep customers without being so reliant on the tradpubs (traditional publishers). We now see that many of Amazon’s bestsellers are not published by the tradpubs. Would it take a long time to get people to make that switch? Sure, but Amazon is famous for taking the long view.
That can’t possibly do it if the customers aren’t on their side, though…
Checking in on my free Flipboard magazines
I continue to be amazed at the growth of my free Flipboard magazines.
The main idea is that you can use the
app, which I read every morning anyway on my
to “flip” articles into a magazine of yours, which you make available to other people for free.
To me, it’s a different medium, in the way that Twitter is.
I doubt I’ve had anything else which has reached more people…although I don’t make any money directly from it, and it certainly doesn’t satisfy my creative nature like this blog does.
Don’t worry…I still love you best. ;)
The Measured Circle
“A geeky mix of pop culture, tech, and the weird world”
- 2,278 readers
- 5,630 page flips (by other people of my article choices)
- 6,124 articles
ILMK (I Love My Kindle)
“The long-running blog about the world of e-books and publishing, which is one of the most popular blogs of any kind in the Kindle store, brings you related news stories”
- 654 readers
- 35,590 (!) page flips
- 3,607 articles
The Weird Old Days
“Has the world always been weird? These news stories from the 19th and early 20th centuries bring you tales of lake monsters, the Hollow Earth, ghosts, and more! Edited by Bufo Calvin, of The Measured Circle blog. Note: these articles reflect the culture of their times. As such, they may use terms and concepts which some modern readers will find offensive”
- 112 readers
- 381 page flips
- 269 articles
Doc Savage Fanflip
“Doc Savage, the forerunner of Superman and Batman, has been one of my fictional heroes for a very long time. Thanks in part to Doc, I try to better myself to help others, and to do so with “…no regard for anything but justice.” A “fanflip” is my new term for a Flipboard magazine by a fan, dedicated to one topic. I will bring you not only Doc Savage news, but Doc stories and resources from around the web. Think of it as a scrapbook with news.”
- 100 readers
- 272 page flips
- 89 articles
As you can see, The Measured Circle has the most readers…but ILMK has by far the most article flips by other people.
For more information on them, see Update on my free Flipboard magazines.
What do you think? What would Amazon’s best strategy be to get public opinion back…or do you think they haven’t lost it? Do you think Amazon is working to make the tradpubs irrelevant to their success strategy? Should Amazon buy Radio Shack? Would that be like Futurama coming back after it was canceled? ;) Should Amazon even have brick and mortar stores? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!
* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.