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Amazon’s Kindle Discussion is Less a Discussion than a Consumer Focus Group

4743607494_a779a5bfd6_bOn Friday Amazon announced that it would be holding a discussion this week in the Kindle support forums. We’re now six hours into the so-called discussion, and anyone who was expecting an actual discussion is going to be soundly disappointed.

Rather than respondf to questions from readers, Amazon’s contribution were posts like:

We’re looking forward to getting started. Here are the first few questions we’d like to open the discussion with – please feel free to answer one or all of the following:
Why did you decide to purchase a Kindle?
What is your favorite memory while reading on your Kindle? Why was it so special and memorable?
Can you tell us about the first book you read with Kindle?

Amazon didn’t respond to feature requests, questions about design decisions, or other spontaneous comments. Instead, Amazon apparently followed their own script, moving from targeted question to targeted question.

For example:

Several of you have mentioned that you enjoy using Audible. How did you hear about Audible and when do you like to use it?

In short, this "discussion" was as scripted as Amazon’s other interactions with its customers. Or as Teleread put it, this  was "more marketing fluff and fishing for user testimonial quotes than any meaningful two-way discussion". It was basically a consumer focus group, one where Amazon didn’t have to pay anyone for showing up and participating.

As I noted this morning that is in keeping with Amazon’s past actions, but it’s still disappointing.


image by libertygrace0


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Frank July 18, 2016 um 5:54 pm

You mispelled 'respondf'

Nate Hoffelder July 18, 2016 um 5:57 pm

No, I didn’t.

That is the past impartive participle conjugation.

Steve Vernon July 19, 2016 um 8:01 am

But of courf…


DavidW July 19, 2016 um 10:39 am

FYI from this morning Kindle rep said:

"I want to assure everyone that we are hearing the feature requests that you have made and we will definitely share them with the development team. Our goal with this discussion is to encourage dialog that will help us understand what you enjoy about reading and specifically, reading on your Kindle to ultimately help us improve the experience. This has been great conversation so far!"

DavidW July 19, 2016 um 10:47 am

Anyway I finally posted, this is what I said, hope that repeated comments like that really make an impression:

"There are several things that I love about the Kindle 3: page turn buttons, a wide bezel that’s easy to hold, bold thick font, an option to view just %, excellent contrast. I don’t appreciate the wide bezel and page turn buttons as the key selling point on a high end ereader. It should be standard on all Kindle models, and it should be superior hardware that makes a high end ereader stand out.

But I really can’t stress enough that the bold thick font makes the older Kindle a better experience to read. The current models have way too thin font rendering (that includes the basic). A good looking paperback is good looking when it has bold, thick font rendering. A bad, cheap looking paperback has thin, faded hard to read font. What I’m saying is that by showing off the resolution with these thin, wiry fonts you actually give it the faded cheap paperback look."

Maria (BearMountainBooks) July 19, 2016 um 11:39 am

A lot of companies pay 100 to 200 dollars for a focus group response like that (per participant). Leave it to Amazon to get away with it for free (the first time it appears to have worked. Good luck if they try it again). Shoot, even the cheaply run ones offer coupons or a chance at a gift certificate to various stores!

Sergegobli July 19, 2016 um 2:03 pm

Sounds like a cheap trick by Amazon. And Jeff ain’t listening…

Greg Strandberg July 19, 2016 um 11:33 pm


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