Last Friday, Oprah introduced the Amazon Kindle as her "new favorite thing in the world," announcing a $50 discount on purchases made by November 1 using the code "OPRAHWINFREY." If history is any indication, the gadget is headed up for an up-swing in sales.
But can Oprah do for the Kindle what she's done for her book club selections? Even with the promotional discount, the gadget costs more than $300 and the e-reader has had a tough time catching on. The environmental benefits are obvious, but it's hard to justify the purchase when checking out books from the library is also an eco-friendly choice. And that's free. Plus there's the fact that most people are holding their dollars pretty close right now. All this could equal a moderate increase in sales, but not an overwhelming response.
Something tells me not to minimize Oprah's influence though. You have to give her credit for the enthusiasm she's created for reading. Maybe she can do the same for reading on a digital device. She has the proven ability to ignite the consumer in all of us, especially if she speaks to our conscience. Maybe next year everyone riding the subway will be listening to their iPod while reading their Kindle. Maybe.
written by Debbie, October 27, 2008
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