Go Read This | How Barnes & Noble Can Take a Bite Out of Amazon « The Scholarly Kitchen

Easily the smartest piece I’ve read so far this year. What’s more I think it’s so good it’ll hold that title until the end of the year too. This just a flavour:

I don’t believe that B&N has fully tuned into the economics of working in a network environment. For all the talk of the democratization of the Internet and the Long Tail, network economies tend to be winner-takes-all. Amazon is fast approaching a position where it becomes a virtual monopoly like other tech giants before it — Microsoft with Windows and Office, Facebook with social networking, Google for Web search, and Apple (through iTunes) for music consumption. All of these monopolies reach a plateau at some point, where other products and services begin to restructure the paradigm (e.g., the role of Cloud computing and mobile telephony in eroding Windows’ base), but while the party lasts, it is one heck of a profitable ride. It is far more urgent for B&N to prevent Amazon from reaching that point than it is for B&N to strive to achieve that point itself. B&N should be hell-bent on destroying the e-book paradigm, not on trying to control it.

via How Barnes & Noble Can Take a Bite Out of Amazon « The Scholarly Kitchen.

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2 comments

  1. I just do not see anything here to trouble Amazon. Increasingly Amazon treats books as an ‘eyeball’ attractor, getting people into the Amazon system as a one stop solution for everything – selling them everything under one roof. The sheer convenience of this can hardly be underestimated. Combine this with the DRM barrier – B&N books cannot be read on a Kindle, thus sunk costs come to the fore.

    Possibly the only real way forward would be to destroy the whole idea of retailing books as such, either via Netflix like options or via advertising. Amazon is already experimenting with the first option…

    B&N is very poorly situated to try anything like this since it’s whole business is built around selling books. None of the other options will provide anything near the margin it enjoys at present – and it is already under strain. Probably only Google could attempt this, if it had any real interest in ebooks that is.

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