E-books readers are devices that use e-ink technology to offer a book-like experience thanks to an easy to read screen, enabling users to keep reading for many hours without headaches.
There are many of e-book readers, but the most important ones are the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader. The Sony Reader supports more e-books formats than Amazon and also offer a model with touch screen, but it’s e-book store is weak. You can’t find all the books that Amazon has.
Sony it’s a hardware oriented company that use an e-book store to sell more Sony Readers. In the other hand, Amazon it’s a e-book provider that use a e-book reader platform to sell many books as possible.
Amazon complemented their offer with the Kindle for iPhone, that introduced a new feature called whispersync (Fig 1). This functionality lets you synchronize your readings between your Kindle e-book reader with your Kindle for iPhone. For example, you can use your iPhone to read when you are in the subway or waiting in a queue. But when you are at home relaxed in your sofa, you continue your experience with the Kindle e-book reader at the same page that you left the Kindle for iPhone.
Fig.1. The whispersync offers great value, letting the users to sync their iPhone application with the Kindle reader.
Amazon’s strategy shifted from the Product Oriented Kindle e-book reader with an e-book store to a Service Oriented Kindle, offering a total customer experience thanks to the richer interactions that are delivered trough the Kindle e-book reader and the Kindle for iPhone, enabling the customer to co-create value (Fig.2). The iPhone application is not trying to cannibalize the Kindle e-book reader, in deed Kindle for iPhone will engage more users to the Kindle service. Amazon is not an electronics manufacturer, it’s the biggest bookstore on the planet that is aiming to be the biggest e-book store on the planet.
Fig.2. The users of the Amazon Kindle service can co-create value thank to the rich interactions delivered by iPhone and the e-reader.
The shift form product to service of Amazon Kindle is the greatest differentiation with the competition. They can’t compete to the value that offer “e-books as a Service”, where the service use the devices to sell e-books.