Gillette learned this tactic long ago—give away the razors and charge a lot for the blades. Then the printer manufacturers adopted it. They sell cheap printers and very expensive ink. Amazon is doing someting similar with the Kindle e-reader and tablet.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has admitted that the company is selling Kindles at cost with the idea that people will use them to buy Amazon offerings. I confess that it is working with me. I got a Kindle Fire and now I keep buying e-books. It’s so easy to click on an offering and in a couple of seconds download it.
It’s still not the same or as enjoyable as browsing through books in a bookstore. I still like to wander around Barnes & Noble and see what’s on the shelves. I run across things I didn’t know about and this element of serendipity is much reduced online. To be sure, Amazon makes suggestions but it is still much harder to run across a new author or subject.
However, bookstores keep closing down and Barnes & Noble is losing money. I certainly hope the big bookstores will survive but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t.
How about you? Do you still go to bookstores?