Why Kindle Is Winning And Nook Will Lose

So, after my previous post, I chatted with some people on Twitter a bit then decided I finally had to get the Kindle for PC software.

I’d resisted Amazon from the start, but now it was time to see what it was like. And I particularly wanted to see how it would contrast with my awful experience earlier today with Barnes & Noble.

So:


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So, I hit download and the game was afoot!

After installation, I was presented with this:


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I have never been an Amazon customer, so I had to create an account. Already I had visions from Barnes & Noble this morning. But still.

I used Chrome for this procedure:


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After that, I was given this:


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I didn’t understand what I was seeing there. Where was the rest of the information they wanted? So, I clicked the button and got this:


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OK, very nice. A reminder they have hardware I can buy. Let’s get serious here.

I decided to go straight for the books:


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I decided I wanted to see ALL books, not what they wanted to pimp right now. And I got this absolute stunner:


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Look at the prices! It looks like for the price of one Larsson filthy disease-carrying paper (I lightly joke) hardcover, I could get all three in Kindle format! Holy bloody cow!

But I wasn’t there to buy. I was on a mission. So, I plopped FREE into Search:


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And I scrolled until I hit what I was looking for, which was at the bottom of the first screen:


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This book I use as the Acid Test for public domain free. This is because Conan Doyle used italics only once in all of his stories, and it’s in the first story of this collection. If I don’t see that one word italicized, I know no one gives a damn about the books they’re giving away.

Now notice that screen, in the upper right. It doesn’t say this can be downloaded to my PC. This is because I forgot to go back to the software and enter my email address and password. After I did that, I got this:


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And then I had to hit Shop at Kindle Store in the upper right to connect the software to the account. I then saw this in the upper right:


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There it is: Deliver to Mike’s Kindle for PC. So, at this point, I wondered when the Gotcha! is going to happen. I hit the 1-Click button and it appears:


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OK, it wanted more information. And then there’s the Continue button. I gave it that information and expected to be dinged for financial information once I hit the Continue button. This is what happened:


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Wait, what? Just hit that button and I’ll get the free book? Could this be for real? Let’s see…


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WHOA! I got it! And look:


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Conan Doyle’s single instance of italics for emphasis is there!

But wait! What about my credit card number? What about a PayPal account? What about any of that? You know, just like Barnes & Noble demanded for its so-called free book?

Instead, I saw this:


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Absolutely bloody free! (You will forgive me for blacking out my home address. There are nasty people on the Internet looking for that.)

This was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had with eBooks!

There was no dicking around with Adobe’s crapware for DRM, no installation of a separate dedicated library program (for Sony or Nook or Kobo), and no demand that I surrender any financial information to get something for free.

And this is why Amazon has been winning and why Barnes & Noble had better quickly reconfigure its strategy when it comes to so-called free eBooks.

Personally, I’m not yet ready to surrender to Amazon. Most of the books I have are in ePub. But I can totally understand why new eBook users would turn to Amazon over everyone else now. Amazon doesn’t throw up any speedbumps. The entire process is smooth and anxiety-free, And when I found out I didn’t have to give up financial information for a free book, that turned the smooth experience into one that was outright delightful.

All of the rest of you — Sony, Barnes & Noble, Borders/Kobo — better wake up now.

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