The logic of the dedicated eReader

Kindle, friction, and the paradox of choice

Both Amazon and B&N understand the dangers of multi-purposeness

Kindle and Nook are both eInk based, dedicated reading devices. Nook Color is LCD based, but it’s still focused on reading. Kindle App Store and Nook App Store are both only letting in apps that Amazon and B&N approve as ‘reading related’ or as ’quick, short breaks from reading’.

Amazon and B&N view everything other than reading as friction. It makes sense because of the value proposition they are selling –

  1. Kindle and Nook are dedicated readers for people who love to read. Nook is a ‘reading tablet’ for people who love to read.
  2. Kindle and Nook promise a distraction-free reading experience. They promise a friction-free reading experience.
  3. Amazon and B&N are companies that sell books to readers, and they are telling users that they will provide all the books users could need. No more worrying about where to get books. No more driving to a store to get books.

It’s part of the Kindle and Nook value proposition to cut out everything other than reading.

Do people misunderstand that?

All the time. It’s perfectly understandable. You might have a device with a particular value proposition (great for reading) and there will always be people who want to extend it (great for reading and for surfing the net). The device maker has to make a stand, and stay focused on its core audience.

For a device that’s focused on reading, everything other than reading is friction. Even if 10 million people, who are not the device’s target audience, think the device should add the ability to play video games, the device maker ought to stick to the essence of the device.

The beauty of these 10 million critics is – they will NEVER buy the device. Yet, they want it changed to conform to their world view that reading is for idiots.

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