A few days ago, Amazon announced the feature “Kindle for the Web”: A feature allowing someone to share the Kindle version of the first chapter of a book as embedded content on a website (for an example, scroll to the bottom of this post), via e-mail or a posted item on Twitter or Facebook. (Background and help: Kindle for the Web FAQ.)
Note several subtle, yet very Amazon-savvy, things about this feature that are a part of the way the company has continuously demonstrated why it sets the bar in online commerce.
1. This is not just a feature for you to “share the first chapter”; this is a feature that allows Amazon to enlist you in sharing a “test-drive the Kindle” promotion. This is a classic “content” win-win: The user gets some extremely helpful content to add to a blog post and Amazon gets a wider distribution of potential transactions.
2. While those of us who immerse ourselves in online media constantly obsess over the economics of links (in such matters as their value in search optimization), Amazon is one of the few companies (Apple being the other) that can monetize directly a link (their links are to product transaction pages). Not only that, they allow the user to set up an affiliate store arrangement whereby the “linker” (or, in this case, embedder) can also be rewarded with an 8.5% commission for purchases that result from a click-through of the embed or link. (Note: In the past, I’ve never included such affiliate links on this blog, but have done so here to test the feature.)
3. Amazon understands that “sampling” is a part of the book-buying process. It is constantly innovating, looking for new ways to replicate the way we may purchase a book in a physical store when we can look at the table of contents, the index, the first chapter. This is a major amplification of that “sampling” idea that has been a part of Amazon since its beginnings.
Last thing: I’ve selected a very specific book with which to demonstrate this new feature, Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson because I find myself recommending it about 2-3 times a week to people who are beginning any type of business venture or web development project.
I’ve been meaning to recommend it on this blog, so now I have: