Labeling the Kindle a game changer is premature, says Liz Gunnison from Portfolio:
… the Kindle’s target buyer would be a person who reads so much that they have ceased instilling books and periodicals with nostalgic value…yet not so much that they are rarely far enough from a computer to really need a separate device.
To top it off, one can imagine a single device (and Amazon account) being used by an entire household. And we’re talking only about those that choose a Kindle, of course, rather than a competing device such as Sony’s portable reader.
So, all things considered, how many Kindles does that work out to? Two million? One million? Five hundred thousand? [Emphasis included in original post.]
Gunnison’s analysis looks at the Kindle as a book game changer, but Gary Frost from futureofthebook.com says the device is actually a shopping disruptor:
The book reading function is a decoy to disguise a portable shopping device. The one click is a well known Amazon purchase feature. The connected Kindle device makes this relation portable and the format is just as accessible for a baby register or power tools as it is for books. Its also worth a mention that Kindle sells print books.
Frost is on to something. Amazon built its early business on books, but it eventually diversified with thousands of additional product categories. The Kindle might follow a similar path: sink the first mobile-buying/digital-consuming hook into early adopters with the Kindle, then expand.