My books, my e-reader and I

R. Sridhar | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on August 27, 2015

Value-added reading: The Kindle’s facilities make it possible for the reader to engage with a book faster and deeper.

The thoughtful crafting of a superior customer experience eased the writer’s transition from books to a Kindle

My father initiated me into reading books, very early in my life.

That habit continued right through my career and continues still. One reason was that I worked in a company like Ogilvy & Mather where reading and writing were celebrated. So over the years, I graduated to reading about two to three books a month.

Year 2007. Enter Kindle from Amazon. I was excited with the idea of an e-book reader. I was toying with the idea of getting one, but soon found out that Amazon offered a Kindle App for Windows and Mac machines. And that was free! So I downloaded the app and started buying a few e-books.

Today it has completely changed the way I read books. If I can help it I do not buy a hard copy of a book now. Soon after the launch I got a Kindle as a gift. I used that as well as the app in my laptop. Then followed the Kindle app on an iPad and then an iPhone.

Kindle disrupted the book business. It changed the way books were sold and read. But Amazon has gone beyond that. What I like is that it did not stop with an e-book reader called Kindle. The first stroke of genius was the Kindle app for Windows and Mac computers. This ensured that people got into the e-book reading habit, even if they did not have the Kindle device.

I like the way the app recognised how people read books. Underlining text, making margin notes, and such. Kindle made it possible to do that. In addition, when you look at a book later you could read all your highlighted portions first.

It replicated the browsing that we do in a bookshop. You can not only look at the contents, but also get to read a free sample chapter. If you like it you can order the book.

Somebody there in Amazon is really worried about the customer – a frequent buyer and reader of books. They replicated the reading experience as closely as possible. They broke all the barriers to adopting a new way to read a book.

There have been times when I was working on a project, I would browse through my collection, read up some stuff for inspiration and get on with my work. I might have referred to a couple of books – sometimes even five or six books. All on my Kindle.

A recent experience made me realise the power of this new way of reading books. I was conducting a two-day workshop for a client. On day one there were some discussions about how to use questions in conversations. There was a suggestion that if I could put something together for the next day, it would be useful. I worked through the night and created something relevant. What helped me enormously was my access to my e-book library. When people talk about innovation in marketing, the discussion is often limited to the product and its features. Sometimes they talk about differentiation through service.

The big opportunity however, is in innovating to deliver a far better customer experience.

R. Sridhar is an innovation facilitator, consultant and coach

Published on August 27, 2015
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