Shall we talk a moment about the whole Amazon buying Goodreads deal?
When it hit, my Twitter stream exploded. Tweets like "I can't BELIEVE THIS" and "I never saw this coming!" and "I. Am. In. Shock."
I couldn't understand the shock. I saw it coming a long time ago.
You see, Goodreads had no way for users to buy recommended books with one click. This was even more of a problem on a tablet like Kindle Fire, which you can load apps like Goodreads on. So, the logical steps are: in the Goodreads app on your Kindle, you like a book, mark it as a to-read. But, since you're on Kindle, you've got no way to actually purchase that book without a tedious retyping of the title (if you can even remember it) in the Amazon shop.
I thought to myself many times, Amazon and Goodreads should play nice and give me a way to buy the books I'm marking.
It really is a simple case of knowing and understanding the way your audience works. Amazon clearly excels at that. And they discovered that this was an issue. It's a no-brainer -- for Amazon.
As another example of a company knowing their audience well, Adobe Systems has done a nice job of forcing its software users into paying them a monthly subscription You see, they knew that a large portion of designers would buy design software and then, in order to save money, not update it for two or three years. Well, that's two or three years of no fresh money for Adobe. So they've made it so that if we want to update, we have to go on the cloud monthly sub plan. And you can't update your old software unless you do that.
They know us. They know us well.
Does it make it nice? Not always. And it remains to be seen what this means for people who don't use Amazon to read books.