After a decade of interesting but ultimately failed efforts by various electronics manufacturers to hit the sweet spot of potential for an electronic book reader, Amazon launched the Kindle reader in November 2007. Although the Kindle quickly attracted critics and naysayers who predicted failure for the device, they failed to understand either Amazon’s passionate commitment to the Kindle concept or how well the company is positioned to achieve dazzling success. Amazon’s relationships with readers, early adopters, authors, and publishers provide the company with tremendous advantages over any competitor that might consider bringing an e-book reader to market, and Amazon has not squandered its opportunity. The device sold out about five hours after launch, sold over 200,000 units in its first six months (based on figures released by its Taiwan-based display-screen manufacturer), and is unlikely to look back after it reaches the one-million mark in Kindle units in circulation sometime early in 2009.
Copyright © 2008, Stephen Windwalker and Harvard Perspectives Press.