Kindle Voyage ad: Bezos=Nemo?
Amazon has posted a new
their upcoming (in pre-orders now) top of the line EBR (E-Book Reader).
I like the ad: it’s slick, and is all about the product. They don’t type their customers demographically (which they’ve done in the past…early Kindle ads were often filled with young people) or knock down their competition (as they did with the “pool ad”).
It’s what I want an ad for a Kindle to be, in many ways…touting the reading, and what reading does for you, as well as pointing out a few of the technological things.
They show some text from a book in it, and I recognized it: it’s from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne.
Interestingly, that got me thinking.
Some people point to Captain Nemo as a James Bond type super villain…type “megalomaniacal” and “Nemo” into a search engine, and you’ll find several definitions of the character.
However, there is an argument to be made that although Nemo was a brilliant thinker, working outside the box, using new technology…the ardent environmentalist took a wrong turn into violence, but was trying to do good in the world.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is a brilliant thinker working outside the box, using new technology, and I believe, trying to do good in the world.
Has the CEO made that wrong turn into harming others as a means to an end? You’ll certainly find people who think so.
That’s why I found that book an…intriguing choice.
I’m unconvinced, though, that Amazon thinks that carefully about what associations people will make. When they named the Kindle the “Kindle” originally, they appear not to have anticipated the association people would make between “kindling” and burning books…that used to be something I’d see on the internet.
Without spoiling 20,000 Leagues (I think there is no statute of limitations on spoilers…a ten-year old reading it for the first time today deserves the same joy of discovery today as they did a hundred years ago), I want to put a couple of quotations here, and let you consider their possible connection (at least metaphorically) to Amazon.
Here’s one that I think points up how some people see Amazon as a company…the fascination with it:
“In every place of great resort the monster was the fashion. They sang of it in the cafes, ridiculed it in the papers, and represented it on the stage. All kinds of stories were circulated regarding it. There appeared in the papers caricatures of every gigantic and imaginary creature, from the white whale, the terrible ‘Moby Dick’ of sub-arctic regions, to the immense kraken, whose tentacles could entangle a ship of five hundred tons and hurry it into the abyss of the ocean. The legends of ancient times were even revived.”
Legends of ancient times…like the Amazon warriors, perhaps? 😉
As to Jeff, there is this riposte from Captain Nemo…is it that hard to imagine Jeff Bezos reacting similarly if someone in a meeting said, “But real business people don’t do it that way”?
“I’m not what you term a civilized man! I’ve severed all ties with society, for reasons that I alone have the right to appreciate. Therefore I obey none of its regulations, and I insist that you never invoke them in front of me!”
I do think Amazon, while undeniably imperfect, has brought a tremendous amount of good to the world. I’m a former brick and mortar bookstore manager, and a very minor author (although this blog is reasonably popular), and I think the book industry needed to be shaken up. I think that Amazon has made it so more books are available more easily to more people, and that is a good thing.
So, does Bezos=Nemo? Certainly not…but there a few similarities. 😉
What do you think? Am I underplaying Amazon’s negatives? Strikes in Germany, open letters against them by famous authors, complaints from small publishers…are these legitimate responses to ruthless policies? On the other hand, has the way that Amazon has enabled authors to bypass the tradpubs (traditional publishers) and make a living writing been a great benefit to readers? Would you compare Jeff Bezos to some other literary character or historical person? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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* 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.