Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Could a "Kindle Membership" Program Look Like?

Amazon is selling millions of Kindles every year and, of course, they're selling even more ebooks, so perhaps they don't feel the need to sweeten the customer pot with a membership program like the one Barnes & Noble offers. You could argue the B&N program is more oriented towards physical products with in-store discounts and free express shipping. Then again, that sounds a lot like Amazon's own Prime program; Amazon has at least started migrating Prime more towards digital content with their TV/movies streaming service. I think it could be even more valuable in the digital world though.

Here's a good example. Do you check out the Kindle Daily Deal every morning like I do? I find myself simply hoarding content from it now. After all, if a book is usually $9.99 or more and available for only a buck or two, how can I resist? That only leads more to the Amazon formula factor I mentioned in an earlier post: the more I buy the more I feel compelled to stick with Amazon's platform. I'm already way behind on all my reading and these cheap daily deals are creating even more of a backlog.

Does Amazon really need to take these deals all the way down to 99 cents though? What if there were two tiers instead? For the general public, also known as non-members, that $9.99 book is $4.99 today; for members of a Kindle program the price is 99 cents. Membership could cost $20, $50 or whatever makes sense per year. Discounts could also apply to other products on Amazon (e.g., magazine or newspaper subscriptions, accessories, etc.) In short, they'd need to come up with a program that's compelling enough to get you and I to fork over money in advance. If they come up with the right formula I'd definitely sign up.