Amazon’s iPhone Kindle Strategy, Take 2

Here’s an update to my earlier post about Amazon’s strategic decision to release a free iPhone application to read e-books published for its Kindle device.

Email from AmazonOf course, it’s undeniably brilliant to cultivate an audience for reading books on a handheld device, reaching people who have a history of buying expensive electronics. But as you’d expect from Amazon, their followup is also first rate.

Knowing that I’d downloaded the iPhone app, they sent me an email this morning announcing that their Kindle device is now on sale. At Zacks, we’re always looking for opportunities to target our email campaigns like this. There’s no better way to reach your customer than demonstrating that you’ve paid attention to his interaction with you. When you can credibly make the claim that you’re sending this message specifically because he might find it useful, you’ve greatly increased the chances that your customer will click through to the action page.

Actually, the Kindle app has made me a believer when it comes to reading text on my iPhone. Except the Kindle app isn’t my platform of choice. Instead, I’ve been using the much more versatile Stanza. Where the Kindle app concentrates on titles available from Amazon, Stanza and its companion (Mac or Windows) desktop application make it unbelievably easy to put any text on your phone in ebook form. Just open text files, word docs, pdfs or html pages in the desktop app and load them over wi-fi onto your iPhone.

Now any time I stumble upon a long but interesting blog post or article, I’ll load the URL in Stanza and take it with me to read whenever I find a spare minute on the go. The very legible and customizable display makes it much easier and more enjoyable to read than if I’d copied the bookmark and navigated there in the mobile browser. And the text is loaded on the phone itself, so I don’t have to worry about the availability or speed of my connection.

Of course, the retail giant took notice of how well Stanza works. In April, Amazon bought Stanza’s development company Lexcycle. So far, though, they have not disabled the Stanza app itself. Presumably, they’re working with the Lexcycle developers to morph all the extra features of Stanza into the next generation Kindle reader.

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