I’ve not been shy about pushing the gillette model for ebooks. That is, about saying someday one of the publishers or booksellers is going to realize that if they make a basic reader for low cost and sell it either at or below cost, tying it to their books, they’ll become what Gillette was in 1902. “Sell the blades, give away the razor,” is not literally true, it just seemed like it at the time.
That said, one of the Big Problems I have had with this in my own mind is that it doesn’t, well, books aren’t enough. On top of that why buy a reader when a computer will do pretty much the same thing? Well, I had an aha! moment – you can guess from the title.
I want/see a box that is solely for entertainment. It’s a bit large for music due to the screen, but the screen is about right for videos and books. Downloading? Sure, we can do downloading, but I think the ability to put movies on a chip (16GB SDRAM, for example) creates a very useful market while keeping this thing PORTABLE. With a 3×5 touch screen (roughly the size of an Iphone) and very (VERY) few frills I suspect it can be kept to under $75 to produce. Add a firewire port (and a firewire/USB cable as an option) for transfer and upgrades, 32 or so GB of Flash type memory, an earphone plug, and let it go.
The really important thing – the one that kicks in for marketing – is the store software. The part that goes to Our Store when connected to the internet but only when the owner asks it to do so. What’s this good for?
We sell it for $50 (yes, at a loss) and then say everything purchased for it over the next year comes with a 10% discount. The only catch is you have to purchase through our store – though you have a choice of download or ‘have it sent’ (that SD card). An average of 10 books, 25 songs, and 10 movies (if current estimates remain the same) more than recoups the $25 loss leader — and next year’s purchases (with zero discount) are going to tend to follow habit.
Assuming our store is friendly, fast, and easy to use of course, but that’s going to matter regardless.
sigh. If I were Microsoft I’d tie it in with Xbox Live and make a deal with either a bookstore or a couple of publishers, but I don’t think that fits the rest of their model.
Thing is I figure someone will do it in some form and when they do… everyone will wonder why anybody would pay $250 or more just for an e-book reader.