AMAZON.COM – Kindle Wireless eReading Platform

AMAZON.COM - Kindle Wireless eReading PlatformCASE STUDY

Real world stories about innovators and innovative companies are an important way to learn and we place high value on them at Innovation Excellence. We are very pleased to begin a series of case studies on companies who have been curated by Hult International Business School and Center for Innovation, Excellence and Leadership (IXL Center) in their book Greenovate!

 CASE STUDY - AMAZON.COM  Kindle eReaderThe book Greenovate! documents 53 case studies that are defined by “sustainable, green innovations” (or “green ovations”). Each profile combines business innovation with a synthesized concept of sustainability, from startups to leading global organizations. The second case study in this special Greenovate! case study series is:

AMAZON.COM – Kindle Wireless eReading Platform

Eliminate traditional print waste and costs through eContent, available anytime, anywhere through a simple eReader that is customized for users.

INNOVATION
Kindle combines new wireless and eInk display technologies. Amazon provides a critical mass of titles. Purchase process is painless and computer-free.

SUSTAINABILITY
Beyond saving trees, digital content eliminates pollution and waste from papermaking, printing, transportation and storage. eInk technology is very energy efficient, consuming zero energy in steady-state.

RESULTS
The annual energy required to read a newspaper on a Kindle (including device production, data transmitting and energy use) is estimated to be 90% less than that used for a print copy or a newspaper

DRIVERS
TACKLE THE ELEPHANT:
Print media consumes over 160 million trees per year in the US — even small reductions by stakeholders conserves significant resources

BIG BOLD STATEMENT:
One aspect of Amazon’s core mission is to provide “any book, anywhere at any time” — the Kindle brings this goal one step closer to reality

BURNING PLATFORM:
Decline of print media has forced writers, publishers, and booksellers to find new ways to remain viable with electronic media

BARRIERS
SACRIFICE NOTHING:
The target market — prolific readers — is often purists for whom the feel of traditional reading is a minimum requirement

WHOSE IP IS IT?:
As with digital music and video, it is very difficult to deal with intellectual property protection of digital print — authors and publishers are skeptical

CHICKEN OR THE EGG:
eReaders took off slowly as customers wanted lots of content before purchasing and publishers wanted a big e-market before going digital

NO UNIVERSAL STANDARDS:
A common, easily readable and transferable format of the e-books was not available to users who avoid new technologies

ENABLERS
SKUNKWORKS:
Amazon created a subsidiary to develop a device that was closer to an enhanced book than a digital device that displayed text

IMPROVING TECHNOLOGY:
The project was further supported by advances in wireless connectivity and e-Ink display, which allowed reading digital texts without a computer

SCALE EFFECTS:
Amazon’s size and influence in print media enabled the company to bring customers and publishers together in a viable model for both, enabling cheaper overall prices while maintaining profitability

SENIOR SUPPORT:
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has made the Kindle his pet project, ensuring strong organizational support and commitment to successful implementation

IMPACT
INTERNAL:
By eliminating shipping and production costs, the profit margin for Amazon could be bigger than for paper books, providing new growth sources

COMPETITORS:
Amazon has developed a proprietary system to support the Kindle (similar to Apple’s iPod and iTunes), thus creating barriers to entry

INDUSTRY:
The substantial growth and margins for the eBook industry will spur innovation and new entrants to challenge Amazon

ENVIRONMENT:
With an estimated 1.2 million or more Kindles sold through 2009, digital reading could save thousands of acres of trees

WHAT’S NEXT
The Kindle is bucking the trend to free, ad-supported content on the internet. If Amazon, other eReader manufacturers and content companies can build on this success, the print media industry could develop new, more environmentally and financially sustainable business models for the future.

image credits:  amazon; ixlcenter

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Tyler McNally, Ronald Jonash & Dr. Hitendra Patel are co-authors of  Greenovate! — Companies Innovating to Create a More Sustainable World and members of the leadership team at IXL CENTER, the Center for Innovation, Excellence & Leadership at Hult International Business School.

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2 Responses to AMAZON.COM – Kindle Wireless eReading Platform

  1. Joan Holman says:

    Great stuff! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pingback: Articles of Interest – 9/14/12 « National Creativity Network

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