Hey Barnes & Noble, it's not the Nook, it's about Customer Intimacy

I got a Kindle for Christmas 2010 and I've definitely contributed to Amazon's digital content sales. When I find a book that I want to get, I search for it on Amazon's website and download a sample. If I like it, I pull the trigger (or literally push 1 button), and the book gets downloaded so I can read it on my Kindle...and iPad...and Android phone...and PC at work...and Mac at home...you get the picture.

It's sooooo easy to search for a book, try it, buy it, and find other books like it on Amazon's website. The last time I tried to use Barnes & Noble's website (I had a gift card I needed to use up), I had the hardest time buying a book (Knuth's 4th installment of The Art of Computer Programming), and having it shipped to my house. Being a creature of instant gratification (what internet user isn't?), I wanted to buy the book online and pick it up in-store at the mall, but I just couldn't get B&N to take my money. Maybe it was just an issue with their website, but in either case, there was so much friction in the transaction, it could have started a fire (pun intended).

I don't have a Nook, but of the people I know that do have one, they basically bought the device to jailbreak and install Android. The Nook looks like a mighty fine device if you're looking for a back-lit color reader. It would have been the only game in town at that price point before the Kindle Fire. The problem isn't the device--and it usually isn't (see: HP TouchPad)--it's all about customer intimacy.

Amazon is a case study in customer intimacy. It's no secret. Look at Apple--yes, it has great devices, but Apple's customers love Apple because (usually) its devices are so easy to use.

Amazon has made it a delight to buy digital and physical products from them. They've created a platform for buyers and sellers. They understand digital content and how to make it accessible.

Sorry Barnes & Noble, I love visiting your physical stores, but you need to understand it's not about the device. But look on the bright side, at least I can come in and buy Starbucks from you.
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