Amazon.com today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Zappos.com. a leader in online apparel and footwear sales that strives to provide shoppers with the best possible service and selection. The acquisition brings together two companies who share a passion for serving customers and whose customers benefit from cultures of innovation and long term thinking.
This incident is indicative of what kinds of trouble can emerge when we reframe “content” as “service.” As numerous pundits have noted, the physical book analogy would be Amazon breaking into your home and taking away a book you’d purchased (leaving you a refund on your desk, of course). But a Kindle book isn’t a physical book–it’s a service, one that (as the Kindle license makes clear) you don’t really own.
Barnes and Noble just revealed that it’s upcoming e-reader is the one from Plastic Logic that we’ve long heard about. Which means the Kindle may have a decent competitor on the scene. After all, Plastic Logic’s e-reader is the most interesting-looking and sounding one yet–it’s design is super-minimalist thanks to its touchscreen, it’s supposedly a very slender device indeed, and it has a whopping 8.5 by 11-inch electronic ink display that rivals the Kindle DX’s. Its built to support the EPub format, also used by Sony, which is how B&N plans on releasing the texts from its e-bookstore.