Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Amazon scores with new app Windowshop but faces ire of Kindle fans

I’m a big fan of Amazon. Actually bought 1000% more e-books from the Kindle store compared to the anaemic shelves of the Ibook store. Price-wise, Amazon has also consistently been cheaper than all the other major e-book retailers. As far as my experience goes, their Kindle app on the Ipad and Iphone has also been relatively bug free and very user-friendly.

So it was a major coup again for Amazon to introduce a new and free app Windowshop for the Ipad that IMHO sets the standards in terms of what a shopping app should be: full of pictures, fast-loading, fast-scrolling, great pricing and a meaningful variety of merchandise.

Don’t get me wrong, Zappos has got a great new shopping app too (But surprisingly, they are so low-key about their app that I struggle to find any mention of it on the Zappos website). And out of preference, I shop at Amazon far too often compared to the others e-retailers. Even in Asia and Singapore, inclusive of freight, Amazon still remains competitive in certain sales categories, such as Blu-ray discs.

But where Amazon might have gone wrong is to seemingly ignore the growing numbers of Kindle fans who are complaining that e-book prices have gone out of whack – some Kindle titles have reportedly exceeded the prices of paperbacks or hardbacks that are on sale. Since last year, a small group of Kindle followers have started what is known as the 9 99 boycott. By placing such tags on e-books that exceed the price of US$9.99, this group wants to draw attention to the uncompetitive pricing of e-books. Some go so far as to say that this is a betrayal by Amazon since e-books incur almost zero marginal costs, and most Kindle fans expect e-books to bring the prices of readership down, given that unlike print, it is extremely inconvenient to share e-books.

So I hope apps for the Iphone and Ipad stay sane (I’m still waiting for Apple to offer Keynotes, Pages and Numbers for a bundle price of $9.99)...

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