Sunday, December 23, 2007

Kindle Backorders: When Does "Favorable Buzz" Become "Disgruntled Masses"?

I know of one person who has canceled their Kindle order and another who's on the verge of doing the same. Why? The lengthy backorders with no end in sight. This post on the Mobility Site blog claims that members of Yahoo's Kindle Korner group haven't seen an order shipped since 12/11. Yikes.

At some point, doesn't the buzz created from limited availability start to backfire when customers get discouraged and give up? I want to see the Kindle succeed (otherwise, why launch this blog?!), but this out-of-stock situation doesn't appear to be getting any better and I'm starting to wonder about the missed opportunity for Amazon. Sure, most folks will probably leave their orders sit for weeks or maybe even months, but this whole situation is so unusual for Amazon, an organization that prides itself on customer service. I can't help but wonder if they would have been better served waiting to launch till they had tens of thousands of units on-hand.

5 comments:

Michael said...

While it's in a different category, short supply has seemed to treat the Wii quite well. We'll see if Amazon can correct course though. In order for the Kindle to really take off, they need a lot more units on the street and people experiencing the device through friends of friends.

The Wii has not taken off due to great marketing (when is the last time you saw a Wii commercial?). It's strictly been through word of mouth and people getting their hands on the remote control and playing a game. Limited supply has only added to that buzz. Other than mine, I have yet to see a Kindle in the wild so to speak.

Joe Wikert said...

Hi Michael. I think you've hit the nail on the head. I was thinking of the Wii as I wrote this post and how it seems to ride the wave of "limited availability." The other benefit the Wii enjoys is lines in stores when a shipment arrives; thanks to the fact that the Kindle is only available online, you never see a cluster of fans waiting for it at BestBuy, Walmart, etc. I stumbled across this phenomenon at Fry's recently and it stuck with me. Amazon doesn't get that benefit in the virtual world.

Fran Toolan said...

Happy Holidays, Joe. I would expect the flood gates to open right after the first of the year. Once this Christmas season has passed, and all of Amazon's bread & butter orders get delivered, they will start working on their second priority orders. It should be clear by now that the Announcement in November was not targeted at this Christmas as much as next Christmas... They got the desired, buzz, and hype, and heard 'pundits' reactions.

Next year is the year...

Anonymous said...

Pretty unbelievable that Amazon won't say anything, almost a month after I placed an order. In fact, the Kindle just dropped off my "recently ordered" list, I have to consult the "past six months" list to even see it listed in my history!

I understand they have some delays. But why they can't give me a realistic estimate a full month after learning that demand far exceeded supply -- and the company's continuing secrecy about how many they've sold, how many they're manufacturing -- it's all quite unfathomable.

Jason said...

My wife ordered a Kindle for me from Amazon on December 4th after hearing me talk about how cool it looked.

She was really upset that it did not ship in time to give it to me as an Xmas gift. So much so in fact that she ended up getting me some other gifts.

The problem that Amazon is facing is that unlike the Wii, most people haven't seen or played with the Kindle. If they don't get their order shipped early in 2008 they will likely cancel.

I've already told her to cancel the order because I'm rather annoyed with the delay. At this point Amazon would have to give us a credit, etc, to keep the order in place.