Did Amazon make a mistake?

‘I don’t have a Kindle, can I read your book somewhere else?’

When I published my books in Portuguese I received a lot of questions about how to read them. I thought that was a specific problem related to the market. In Brazil, Amazon is fighting heavily with the big publishers, which hold the market with iron fists. Because of the low level of education of the majority of the population there isn’t much pressure the consumers can apply to these publishers.

The answer is: YES, you can. Kindle is an App for iOS and Android, phones, tablets and computers can have it. Some of them aren’t very pretty or good, but reading a book in one means you can continue where you stopped in any other platform. Amazon also has a cloud reader, where you can read books online and doesn’t have to install or download anything.

When I started receiving the same question from friends here in Australia it surprised me. It made me consider if Amazon had adopted a wrong strategy when they released Kindle. I wonder if calling the publishing platform and their electronic e-reader — the actual equipment — by the same name was a mistake.

If Amazon had called Kindle just the publishing platform, the software, and called the equipment “KindleReader” or “Kindler” or even “Kindleroo” (like a kangaroo carrying its books, get it?); maybe they would have been even more successful.

It would be clearer to the consumer that Kindle is the platform, and therefore something you can get for any device and the equipment can be bought to read Kindle books. With that clarity a lot more people would have joined Kindle and then would benefit from the great variety, cheaper books, free offers and portability.