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Paul Hudson
Paul Hudson CEO of Intersperience
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How the Kindle will revolutionise reading

I recently blogged about books dying quicker than CDs. This Christmas, the Kindle (and other e-readers) was the tech gift of the year. Without a doubt, this was the gadget to give. Our Christmas research highlighted this trend with 24% of all tech gifts being an e-reader. To me, the most significant point is that the majority of these people were in the older age brackets – 35+. This is one of those rare tech gifts that get more popular the older you are.

So how do people like their new Kindles? We asked 10 members of our syndicated online research community, TrendSpot, to review their new Kindles. The results are astounding. The Kindle has to be one of the most generously rated gadgets ever released – 2nd to the iPhone of course!

In all cases, every single person said that the Kindle exceeded their expectations and they were very satisfied with it. Not only that, the Kindle generates that very sought after commodity – word of mouth and recommendations. In a world where the Net Promoter Score dominates organisations, every single one of our new owners said they would actively recommend it to their friends and family. Not one detractor or any word of descent against the Kindle. Wow.

So we can safely say that the Kindle is here to stay. What else does this tell us? Mainly that the Kindle will indeed revolutionise the publishing industry at the speed of light – far faster than the music industry. The older age groups are often the core readership demographic and if they are this happy to recommend e-readers to their friends and family then the speed of take-up will be far faster than most other tech gadgets.

However, on closer inspection of the feedback, it is clear that the tangibility of books still counts for something. These readers haven’t given up on the book just yet and aren’t about to abandon it all together:

“I do still think that traditional books hold some of the magic, and the whole feel, look and smell of them is special. The kindle can’t capture that magic and the downloaded books lose their sense of uniqueness”

“The Kindle has made ‘books’ a commodity because it has lost its physical attributes – for example the smell of the leather cover, the crisp pages and the colourful covers”

“I will still continue to read traditional books, but I do now think I shall be reading more on the Kindle than in paper form”

Where the Kindle wins is its sheer convenience - “….it releases much needed space at home”, “I love how I can 1,400 books without needing 18 bookcases”, “It is an invaluable mobile reference library”, “I think I will use it for out and about”, “It is easier to read than a traditional book”, “It is so easy and light to carry around”, “ I can take 7-10 paperbacks on a 2-week holiday”

In summary – the Kindle will not replace books completely. The adoption of the Kindle will be faster than any other tech gadget to date. The publishing industry has less time to come to terms with this than the music industry did. The pace of change will be swifter and farther reaching than publishers and retailers currently expect. You have been warned – again!

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