Mike Pfeffer, a 26-year-old IT professional, was thinking about buying a Kindle, Amazon's pricey new digital book reader, but he wanted to look at the screen and touch the buttons before shelling out $359 for it.Smart move by Amazon. I know I had wanted to check out the Kindle in person before I ended up just rolling the dice and purchasing one. Having enthusiastic owners make the pitch for free is a great idea. I know that I have enjoyed showing off my Kindle to family, friends and the occasional stranger looking over my shoulder. It is also in the interest of current Kindle owners to get more people to buy them to increases the size of the Kindle ecosystem and make writers more likely to publish in the Kindle format.
So he went to the Amazon site and, through the See a Kindle in Your City message board, found a current Kindle owner in Manhattan who was willing to meet up. The woman worked in the building across the street from him and enthusiastically showed him everything from how the screen looked to how to turn pages on the device.
To help sell its high-priced digital reading device, Amazon is relying more than ever on its tried-and-true sales strategies of word of mouth and customer reviews, and it appears to be working, although the total market for the device is questionable.
"We tapped right into that, allowing customers to create a space where potential customers could physically meet, like at a coffee shop or a restaurant, and show each other Kindles," says Freed. Since the Kindle is an expensive new technology, selling the device at retail outlets where customers could see and touch it would seem to make sense, but Freed says that would diminish the community-based marketing that's propelling sales.