But for its free, 1.0 version, Amazon was smart to focus on the basics: making the thing idiot-proof, fast and solid. I’m not sure you’d really want to read the great American novel on a three-inch screen, but at least you can kill a few 15-minute standing-in-line sessions by picking up your Kindle book where you left off.
Or not. The true brilliance of Amazon’s move is that you no longer need a Kindle anymore to read current bestsellers in e-book form. Amazon, like thousands of businesses before it (see also: iTunes store, console games), has shifted into selling the razor blades, not the razors. Those $10 downloadable books—800K software files, with no physical material costs, shipping costs or warehousing costs—are surely where the profit is.
In other words, Amazon, having ignited new interest in the whole e-book concept with its $360 Kindle reader, is already steering itself from hardware back to software, to e-books as a service, to the skills where it already excels.Clever.
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