Monday, November 28, 2011

5 Lesser-Known Reasons to Give a Kindle

It's not hard to reel off a long list of reasons why a Kindle makes a great holiday gift. First, there's the variety. From the Kindle Fire to the Kindle Touch to the basic Kindle, there is plenty to accommodate every preference. There's the low price, the high quality, and the huge selection of literally tens of millions of books, movies, apps, and songs available. Giving someone a Kindle puts a whole world at their fingertips.

But in all actuality, giving someone a Kindle does even more than all that. We're going to give you 5 reasons to give a loved one or friend a Kindle this holiday season that you may not have thought of.

1. Supporting Amazon Could Get You Into Outer Space
If you thought selling a tablet for $199 was kind of crazy, you have no idea what Amazon is really up to. They own a company called Blue Origin that is attempting to develop economically viable space travel. According to Jeff Bezos, "For Blue Origin it’s cost and safety. If you really want to make it so that anybody can go into space, you have to increase the safety and decrease the cost. That’s Blue Origin’s mission. I’m super passionate about it." There you have it. Now I'm not exactly sure how many Kindles it takes to launch a rocket into space, but I'm guessing it's a bunch. I know I wouldn't mind taking a trip into space if I could! And you can watch a video of one of their test launches on Youtube.

2. E-Readers Are Proven to Increase Reading Time
If you want to get someone to read more, the answer is easy: give them an e-reader. 40% of people with an e-reader read more than they did without them and only 2% read less, according to the Marketing Research Resources Inc. Engadget also reports an increase in reading based on sales figures. In particular, teens and children could use some extra reading time. Between 1984 and 1996, the percentage of 12th graders who never read jumped from 9% to 16%. Also appalling is that only 53% of children age 3-5 are read to by a family member every day. Even if the e-reader isn't going directly to the kids, giving parents a new toy could help encourage them to read to their children.

3. Amazon Is Fighting Against Publishers to Make Books More Accessible
The last year has seen huge strides in making Kindle ebooks more like physical books. First there was Kindle book gifting, then there was the ability to get Kindle books from libraries, and now it's possible to get free books from Amazon Prime. That's led to a lot of smiles and happy customers who are able to get more books for less than ever before. But guess who's not happy? The Book Publishers. In case you aren't aware, Amazon has been battling publishers to keep the prices of books low for some time, but it's still not hard to find new Kindle ebooks priced at $15 or $20. The latest move is Penguin pulling their ebooks out of libraries completely, which you can read about here and here. They claim they are doing it to avoid piracy or reevaluate, but we know the truth. More Kindles empowers Amazon to push harder for lower prices and lending capabilities.

4. A Status Symbol For Readers
There's no documentation for this, no articles, but if you think about it for a minute or two you'll know that it's true. Having a Kindle says something about you as a reader. If you're on a plane, in the park, or at a cafe and someone pulls out a Kindle, they are telling you they take their reading seriously enough to want to invest in it and want to have it with them at all times. They are telling you they enjoy reading, and that's their preferred way to spend time when they have a few moments. Not that my ego inflates too much, but there's definitely a feeling I get when I'm in a public space full of people poking at their phones and iPads and I pull out my Kindle and start reading. But, you might ask, isn't this true for all e-readers? Isn't it the same for a Nook as it is for a Kindle? Well, it might be if it weren't for one thing...

5. Recruit for the Amazon Army
As of 2008, has at least 65 million customers per month and over 615 million annual visitors. It operates its website in countless countries, shipping hundreds of millions of packages around the globe. In 2009 it earned over 54 million dollars a day, and that's going to be much larger now.

So why add 1 more to the Amazon Army by giving someone who doesn't have one a Kindle? 

Because of what kind of company they are. If you've ever had a problem and needed to call Customer Service, you know what I'm talking about. Whether it means replacing devices, refunding purchases, or handing over free gift cards as an apology for trouble, examples of incredible customer service abound. Jeff Bezos says, "Our version of a perfect customer experience is one in which our customer doesn’t want to talk to us. Every time a customer contacts us, we see it as a defect. I’ve been saying for many, many years, people should talk to their friends, not their merchants. And so we use all of our customer service information to find the root cause of any customer contact. What went wrong? Why did that person have to call? Why aren’t they spending that time talking to their family instead of talking to us? How do we fix it?"

If you're anything like me, you've had quite enough of companies pushing you around, mistreating its workers (anyone hear about Amazon dropping 2.4 mil to install air conditioners after someone complained?), and trying to save a buck on the backs of its customers. Giving someone a Kindle is a way to make a choice about what kind of companies you want to be dealing with and which ones you want to succeed. There's a good reason why Amazon has grown so much, and that has to do with satisfied customers who keep coming back for more.

These may not be the first reasons you think of when you're considering giving someone a Kindle, but they just might be in the back of your mind somewhere making it easier.

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