Amazon and the Engagement Economy | Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing

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I daresay that “advertisements in books” is actually the wrong way to frame it. What Amazon really wants to do isn’t to sell ads in books, it’s to cross-market all the other goods and services they offer — which is what really smart effective product promotion has always been about. I think that given that much larger business model, it does indeed make sense for Amazon to be interested in lower and lower book prices, even to the point of giving it away for free.

It misses the point to frame this in terms of “giving the book away for free so that they can sell ads.” Or even the (becoming tiresome) “give away the razor and sell the blades” analogy. Both of these models are from the 20th century, from a world of mass markets, mass industrial manfacturing, and relatively scarce media and information. We don’t live in that world anymore.

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