“Exclusive” is the magic word that will define the next generation tablet race once Amazon and B&N are involved. Apple is the first company to really look into exclusives in the form of the multimedia app, and the smart move for them is to keep the multimedia app business their own so that more people will flock to their device for the exclusives.
The Nook Color has begun its run in the exclusive app market by securing “Magic Places,” a new expansion for the “Angry Birds” series, a popular tablet side-scrolling game2. This will be the first time the series will be available on (and only on) an eReader.
The Kindle has also secured some exclusive content in the form of The Atlantic Fiction for Kindle series, which features monthly never-before-published stories on the Kindle3. How long before magazines like The New Yorker (which only has an official “app” for the iPad) start making deals with such a reading device brand?
Readers of said magazines who are also interested in the digital market (which is becoming harder to avoid) will undoubtedly flock to the respective devices.
Another major market that hasn’t been given a proper look-see by the big three is the eBook subscription service. Companies such as OverDrive have started digital eBook renting services for libraries that are beginning to offer eBooks as part of their collections4.
Mike Shatzkin of The Idea Logical Company speculates, “The retailer creates a pool of content that will be offered through the subscription service. The proposition to the consumer will be that for a price, they can read all they want from the content pool. In turn, the retailer divides 70 percent of that money among the publishers in proportion to how many ‘pages’ of their material have been read. Of course, all available public domain content will be in the pool5.”
This service would be like Netflix. How does Netflix keep their customers? It keeps them because of the affordable prices and the variety of things to watch. The same would go for the eBook subscription services. There would be so many books to read that people would think twice about going out of their way to buy a book absent from the subscription catalog.
Shatzkin says, “And just like customers for Amazon Prime (one annual fee for shipping), Kindle or Nook owners are highly resistant to buying outside those programs. Customers for this subscription service would largely be lost to other book consumption. It will take a more powerful desire to read any one particular book to make it a purchase outside the subscription than it takes to buy it now.”
Tapping into this untouched market is vital for the big three. The company that acquires these services first will undoubtedly be king.