Disposable Razor Blades and the Kindle App

I love Kindle, but I don’t own a Kindle.

You might think that doesn’t make sense, so let me explain.  I write all my thriller novels in Kindle e-Book format and my publisher, Endeavour Press in London, publishes them on the Amazon Kindle website.  And I then download my Kindle ebooks, and the other Kindle books I read, onto my iPad 2.  Voila! A Kindle eBook Reader inside my iPad.

And here’s the trick of how to have a fully functional Kindle eBook Reader inside your iPad, or iPod, or iPhone, or Mac or PC computer, FOR FREE!

  1. Simply go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771
  2. Find your device
  3. Click on the Kindle app download and you will have a fully functional Kindle eBook Reader of your very own.

Now, a stand alone Kindle will cost you anywhere from about $69 for the basic Kindle to around $500 for the new Kindle Fire.  Good value and great little machines.

So, why would Amazon give away for free the Kindle app which does basically the same thing as their for sale Kindle hardware readers?

For that bit of slightly obtuse business logic we have to thank a travelling salesman born in 1855 in Wisconsin, King Camp Gillette (definitely a name ahead of his time). He was fascinated by the fact that bottle caps were made to be disposed, but the bottles were reused many times.

The story goes that Gillette’s idea for creating disposable razors stemmed from his personal experience with a straight razor so worn it was rendered useless. Gillette reasoned that if he could offer consumers a sturdy, permanent razor supplemented by cheap, easily replaceable blades, he could corner the men’s facial grooming market and create a massive, repeat customer base.

Today, the Razor/Razorblade business model has evolved to mean a business practice in which a company offers a one-time product  – usually at little or no cost – (think Kindle eBook (low-cost) or the Kindle app (free)) that is complemented by another product for which the consumer is required to make repeated purchases (think Kindle ebooks).

With the idea, the manufacturing process and numerous patents, Gillette was off and running. Production began in 1903, when he sold a total of 51 razors and 168 blades. The following year, he sold 90,884 razors and 123,648 blades, thanks in part to Gillette’s low prices, automated manufacturing techniques and good advertising. By 1908, the corporation had established manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada, England, France and Germany. Razor sales reached 450,000 units and blade sales exceeded 70 million units in 1915.

A recent article in the Guardian paper celebrated the fact that in the month of August more Kindle ebooks were sold than physical books from Amazon for the first time.  And with Christmas coming up in two months, I expect a massive number of Kindle eReaders to be given as Christmas presents, which in January should drive an equally massive spike in the sales of Kindle eBooks.

If you are looking for an eBook for you Kindle Reader or your Kindle app, take a look at my four thriller novels (all available on Amazon Kindle US and UK).  One is about the Cathar Crusades in the Middle Ages, another about terrorism in Beirut and the American Presidency, another about Pirates (female pirates), and the last about the drug cartels and an anti-dote for drug addiction that gets everyone up in arms. And I think you might like the characters; a wheel-chair bound sassy secretary named Maggie and an aging smart-ass with bad knees who rides a 1934 Indian-4 motorbike.  If you like fast paced thrillers, put on your crash helmet and fasten your safety belt.

Almost Perfect;  Game Changer;  Bad Company;  Business As Usual

Tight Lines . . .

John R. Childress


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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1 Response to Disposable Razor Blades and the Kindle App

  1. Raunak says:

    Am through 15% of Almost Perfect and can already tell that its gonna be one awesome read all the way to the end.


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