January 22nd, 2014

Daily Activites Include: OMG, the kids are both in school at the same time!!! rereading,

Between T. missing a bunch of school last week with his cold, and T.'s school having a professional day yesterday, I've sure been seeing a lot of him lately. It's almost weird being alone in the house, but it won't last -- believe me, it won't last.

It might _seem_ that I haven't been reading lately; alas, I sort of wish that were true. Instead, I have continued rereading. I ran through an insane fraction of the JAK books available in ebook form (not all), then switched over to Jeaniene Frost. I had to re-buy the first book in the series, because I originally got it in mass market (pre-kindle days! Seems such a long time ago, but isn't really); the rest I had in kindle format. I have one more in the main series and two ancillary novels to go and the last in the main series will be out later this month so that rereading binge will probably end the same way the JAK one did: read the current book and move on.

I mean to get back to the disco book, but there's a ton of music that I bought that I'm still listening to (currently: The Ultimate Blue Notes, which is Harold Melvin, the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, etc. I think it's better music than Barry White and yet I like Barry White better. I have the worst taste in music. Lately, when I play Sparkle 2, I think, "strings! Yay!").

Other than that, not a whole lot going on: just small things like wrapping up another DVC transaction, housework, arranging playdates. I did finally make it to a Dutch lesson yesterday (I brought T. with me -- that was entertaining. I did get permission from my instructor ahead of time and he was genuinely awesome about it), so that's good. Book group got rescheduled to next Monday; it's David McCullough's _The Greater Journey_, which ought to be really good. Today and tomorrow we have playdates, so here's hoping my days continue to slide by without a ton of excitement. At least we didn't get hit by the current snowstorm.

Why Are Customers Loyal?

h/t Nate, over at The Digital Reader for a pointer to this article at DBW


In this, Jeremy Greenfield describes the results of a survey by Codex Group; essentially, the vast majority of ebook buyers buy from a single retailer (and Amazon/kindle dominates). Of the remaining small number, even they buy about a third of their ebooks from/for Amazon/kindle. If you are Amazon, this is lovely; if you are anyone else, it is a Tough Business.

From this, Greenfield concludes that Amazon and the other big retailers can just keep on keeping on, and the smaller operators will have to work very hard. Specifically, "their biggest foe in that fight is Amazon, which is the most successful ebook retailer when it comes to luring rivals’ customers — likely through price promotions, exclusive content and ubiquity."

There are So Many Things Wrong with this analysis.

(1) A competitor focused approach/analysis is rarely helpful in terms of satisfying customers. Don't focus on the competitor; focus on the customer.

(2) While there are exclusive ebooks, I haven't seen a lot of evidence that exclusive content is driving people to one retailer over another. I guess I don't really understand the ubiquity issue. And pricing is sufficiently close to not be a huge differential between vendors.

So what _is_ driving people towards one retailer over another?

Customer loyalty is only partly driven by price. Customer loyalty is mostly driven by a history of positive experiences with a business. The absolute quality of service is less important than the quality of service relative to expectations. And the easiest way to keep your customers coming back is to pay attention to what they ask for and deliver it.

Here are ways that Amazon has provided a higher quality of service when selling ebooks to me:

I can go back and reread a book I bought as an ebook, years later, even if I deleted it from my device and really sincerely believed I wasn't ever going to read it again.

Even if I lose or break my ereader, and never backed it up, I can read all my ebooks on a future ereader, without losing my place in whatever I am in the middle of.

I can read my books on other devices, like my computer or my phone.

I can buy new books or download books I already own but didn't put on the device, _while I am overseas_, even if I don't have local wifi.

I can buy the ebook version of a book I already bought in paper from Amazon, for a cheaper price.

None of these (with the exception of the last one, which is a very new addition to the Amazon/kindle universe feature set) has anything to do with price. But there's no way in hell I'm going to switch out of the Amazon universe, if it means losing these features. Some of the other book universes provide some of these features -- I don't think any other provides all of them. If Amazon never updated its universe of features, perhaps some other vendor(s) could "catch up" and then innovate their way ahead of Amazon -- which is why a successful retailer doesn't just keep on keeping on.

I recently bought a Chromebook, and was utterly shocked to realize how difficult it would be to replace the set of features offered by iMessage inside the Chrome universe. I didn't adopt Apple products because of iMessage (and I'm not actually that big a texter anyway); I adopted Apple products because I really _like_ the You Can't Do That But What You Can Do Will Be Easy aspect of Apple (and also the existence of Apple Stores and the ease of repair access they offer). However, the absence of a comprehensive texting solution was more than a little daunting.

Don't just believe me about what makes customers loyal. You can start reading about customer loyalty in the obvious place: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyalty_business_model