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Case Title:

Amazon.com’s Kindle: Publishing Industry’s iPod?

Publication Year : 2009

Authors: Swapna Pragada, Pasupuleti Girija under the guidance of Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary

Industry: Services

Region:US

Case Code: INA0111

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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Abstract:
Any industry would undergo change over a period of time. The change would impact the core assets and activities of the industry and alter its business format, finally questioning its existence. The case study deals with the drastic transformation that the publishing industry is undergoing. Publishing industry which flourished well up to the last decade of the 20th century gradually started losing its lustre with the Internet evolution.

In the first decade of the 21st century, new technology in the form of e-readers came into being challenging the survival of the publishing industry. Amazon.com with its e-book reader, Kindle is luring the customers. Kindle, which is developed using e-ink technology, is considered to be of high quality than the printed versions. It is offering e-books, newspapers and magazines to its customers at a comparatively lesser price than its counterparts. It is hence viewed by few analysts as ‘iPod and saviour of publishing industry’. However, to what extent would this be a reality is yet to be seen. Also, with many new trends such as ‘self-publishing’ evolving in the 21st century, the major question is – what should be the course of action for the publishing industry and the e-book readers: compete or collaborate with each other? And what makes sense in the long run?

Pedagogical Objectives:

    The case attempts to achieve the following pedagogical objectives:
  • To understand the business model of publishing industry and make an objective assessment of its strategic inflection points
  • To examine and debate on whether the emergence of e-readers would transform the publishing industry
  • To analyse Kindle’s business model and assess its disruption potential and debate on the competitive threat posed by Kindle to the traditional publishing industry.
  • To debate and discuss in the light of the previous objective’s outcome, whether e-book companies and publishing industry should compete or collaborate. Which makes better sense in the long run?

Keywords : Industry Analysis, Competitive strategies, Pricing Strategies, Porter's Five Forces Model, Ruthless Competitors, Kindle, Amazom, Amazon.com, Publishing Industry, Digitisation, Strategic Inflection Points, Apple iPod, E-book readers

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