Readers familiar with electronic products will not be unfamiliar with the Kindle product. Although it was not optimistic before its release, with Amazon’s unique e-commerce system of a huge book library, Amazon Kindle, an e-reader designed and sold by Amazon, really made e-readers popular and widely known. Today, the Kindle has become synonymous with electronic paper books.
Recently, according to the feedback of Weibo netizens, the product line of Kindle in the Chinese mainland has changed, and the Jingdong Kindle self-operated store has suddenly appeared a large-scale out-of-stock situation, and netizens generally believe that this is a signal that Amazon’s e-book business is about to withdraw from the Chinese market. Affected by this, #Kindle or exit the Chinese market# entry was also rushed to the top of the Weibo hot search list this morning.
Although Amazon’s self-operated e-commerce business has withdrawn from the Chinese market a few years ago, Kindle and cross-border e-commerce are the two major businesses they have never given up. According to the official report of Amazon China, since 2016, China has become the world’s largest market for Amazon Kindle device sales. In this context, will the Amazon Kindle really suddenly abandon the Chinese market?
Taking this opportunity, let’s analyze the beginning and end of this matter, as well as the truth of the incident.
Exit the Chinese market? Just a false alarm!
If you’re a regular reader of digital information, then you should find out
#Kindle withdraws from the Chinese market#
This is not the first time this keyword has appeared in nearly two years.
On July 1, 2019, Amazon China officially announced the closure of its self-operated paper book sales service, and since then, searching for books on Amazon China’s official website can only display third-party bookstore products. At the same time, Amazon also announced that it will no longer operate its business in the Chinese market from July 18 and stop providing services to merchants Amazon.cn Amazon China website.
On July 19 of the same year, some netizens found that Amazon’s official website no longer sells self-operated Kindle devices. Although users can still see the category bar of the Kindle e-reader in the product category, after clicking into the Kindle store, they can only see a simple product introduction page, no Kindle product listing information, replaced by a jump link to the domestic flagship store of the Kindle.
It has to be said that Amazon’s withdrawal from China’s e-commerce business is very thorough, and this move once made netizens think that Amazon was ready to fully withdraw from China. However, according to Amazon, “Amazon has always had a long-term commitment to the Chinese market.” On the basis of the existing good business, we will continue to invest in and vigorously promote the steady development of various businesses in China, including Amazon overseas purchase, Amazon Global Selling, Kindle and Amazon cloud computing. ”
Perhaps in order to give domestic users a “reassuring pill”, a week later, Amazon China held a new product launch conference and officially released three new color matching e-book readers
Kindle Paperwhite 4，
Among them, the color scheme of smoke purple and jade blue is customized for Chinese users, and Amazon China uses this to convey to the outside world its determination to continue cultivating the Chinese market.
However, the good times did not last long, this morning, some Weibo netizens reported that Jingdong Kindle self-operated stores suddenly appeared a large-scale out-of-stock situation. According to Xiaolei’s investigation, at present, the Kindle Classic, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Oasis and other products in the Jingdong Kindle self-operated store are out of stock, and only the Kindle Youth Edition and some peripherals are still on sale.
Coincidentally, as early as September this year, some netizens discovered that the Tmall Kindle flagship store entered the closure period. However, at that time, the store announcement showed that “the official is preparing a new Tmall flagship store”, so netizens did not think much. However, to this day, the Tmall Kindle flagship store has never been restarted, which undoubtedly aggravates the negative speculation of netizens about the prospects of the Kindle.
So what is the truth? Let’s head to the Amazon and find out.
A little search, we can see that the shortage of Kindle products does not only occur in China, even a large number of Kindle products on Amazon overseas are currently generally out of stock. Even the Kindle Youth Edition (known overseas as Kindle Kids) that is currently in stock in China is currently in a temporary state of shortage, and only the set version of the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is in stock.
In other words, the reason for the sudden large-scale shortage of Jingdong Kindle self-operated stores this time is actually very simple, that is, simple goods are out of stock. As the customer service of Kindle’s self-operated flagship store said, at present, the domestic flagship store has not received any news about this aspect (withdrawal from the Chinese market), but to ask when it can be replenished, they have no way to give a specific time.
The Kindle and China’s fate
From the user-loved e-reader, to the “best instant noodle cover” in the mouths of netizens, to now being speculated to withdraw from China, Kindle’s trip to China is indeed very embarrassing. Some readers may wonder why netizens react so much to the fact that Kindle flagship store items are out of stock?
To understand this problem, we have to start with the fate of the Kindle and China.
On November 19, 2007, Amazon introduced the first generation of the Kindle. With a slightly rough white plastic shell, a 6-inch electronic ink screen, and only 250MB of memory capacity, it is difficult for anyone who sees this product to associate it with the word “success”. But its emergence has brought a huge impact to the traditional reading market, not only leading the Western world to the era of electronic reading, but also making Amazon from a discount bookseller to the world’s largest book retail market.
However, although Amazon pioneered the Kindle, it failed to enter the Chinese market. Taking advantage of this gap, highly savvy domestic companies quickly launched a variety of similar products to occupy the market, the most famous of which is undoubtedly Hanvon Technology, which even listed on the small and medium-sized board with the concept of e-books, and then Founder and Shanda and other enterprises have also followed suit, and have launched cheap e-book equipment with Chinese characteristics.
In the following years, Amazon’s Kindle product line continued to develop steadily, successively launching the Kindle DX with a larger screen, the Kindle Keybaord with Wi-Fi function, the Android tablet Kindle Fire and the innovative product design ideas of the Kindle Paperwhite, and the Kindle Paperwhite also became Amazon’s best-selling Kindle version at that time, and the development was smooth.
While the Kindle is developing steadily, domestic e-book manufacturers are in crisis.
In 2010, Apple’s iPad was born, and the concept of tablet computers quickly became popular in the Chinese market. Originally, the concept of paid reading in China was immature, and under the impact of Apple’s iPad, Android tablet and cheap Windows tablet, domestic e-book manufacturers were crushed, and Hanwang Technology once stood on the edge of “ST”.
Aiming at the window period of domestic manufacturers, at the end of 2012, Amazon China’s official website quietly launched the Kindle store, providing free multi-platform Kindle reading software and up to 20,000 Kindle e-books, including thousands of free books. On June 7, 2013, Amazon Kindle e-book reader announced its official entry into the Chinese market. Kindle hopes to establish a complete digital book sales model in China and gain market share for e-readers.
Compared with Amazon’s long-criticized “ungrounded” Chinese e-commerce business, Amazon’s Kindle business is indeed remarkable in terms of localization. In addition to launching China’s exclusive color scheme, the Bank of China Kindle has also teamed up with the Forbidden City and the Dunhuang Academy to launch customized versions and cooperation sets, focusing on the in-depth development of protective shells around famous paintings of the Forbidden City and Dunhuang mural elements such as “A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains”, and jointly launched the Kindle X customized version with Migu Reading, and joined hands with domestic writers to do reading promotion, etc.
Judging from the results, the National Bank version of the Kindle can be described as a remarkable achievement. Six months after entering the Chinese market, there was news that Amazon Kindle had made a profit in China. By 2018, David Limp, then senior vice president of Amazon devices, said that Kindle had occupied more than 65% of the market share in the field of e-books, and the Chinese market had grown into Amazon’s largest market for global Kindle device sales, and everything seemed to be developing in a good direction.
Why did the Kindle fall?
Unfortunately, the upward momentum of the National Bank version of the Kindle seems to have come to an abrupt end. In the years that followed, it was difficult to see the name of Amazon’s Kindle in the mainstream news, and no one seemed to care about the new National Bank version of the Kindle.
This phenomenon makes people think, what is the reason why the Kindle is no longer popular in the Chinese market?
Xiaolei believes that there are three main reasons. First of all, the Kindle’s product iteration has almost stagnated in recent years. Looking back a little, it is not difficult to find that the Kindle’s iterative products have almost no configuration changes, even the high-end product Kindle Oasis 2, is only to upgrade the screen size, add waterproof function, equipped with a metal integrated body, and even not equipped with a Type-C interface, which really makes people have no desire to update.
Second, Kindle’s domestic competitors are on the rise. In terms of software, domestic electronic reading platforms are increasing, whether it is WeChat reading, QQ reading or palm reading, the active users of these platforms are significantly higher than the Kindle app, and the number of resources that Kindle is proud of has been impacted. In terms of hardware, while the iteration of Kindle products is almost stagnant, similar products of domestic manufacturers are rapidly advancing iteration, and various color ink screens and NXTPAPER display technologies are emerging one after another, and the use experience is doubled.
Thirdly, and most importantly, adult hobbies have changed. In the era of no mobile Internet, we like to read paper newspapers and books to relieve our boredom on the commute; In the era when the mobile Internet was just popularized, the digital reading industry that required less traffic was rapidly developed due to the limitation of network speed at that time, and online novels and electronic comics became the most popular leisure methods at that time.
Today, China’s high-speed mobile network has been fully popularized, and we can already watch short videos on the commute. With the increase of fragmented time, people lack the desire to watch books and comics that take a long time to read, and short videos of 1-3 minutes are obviously more in line with consumers’ needs for commuting entertainment. From the perspective of content, the dissemination of text form is far inferior to video and audio forms, and short videos preempt the user’s use time, which can be said to be the development dilemma faced by the entire digital reading industry.
To sum up, in the development of China’s digital reading industry, Kindle has successively played the role of industry evangelist, technology provider, and standard setter, bringing a mature and standard operation mode to the entire industry. Whether in terms of hardware or content, Kindle was once the leader of China’s e-book market, leaving a strong mark on the development of the entire industry.
However, with the development of the times, today’s Kindle seems to have been set off by opponents in the domestic hardware and software fields as an old guard. The rapid popularity of the mobile Internet and the popularity of short video content have squeezed the few reading time of adults. Today, when the market environment and user habits have changed greatly, it may only be a matter of time before Kindle withdraws from the Chinese market.