Nosing around two colleagues at tea time one day, I saw that one of them was marvelling at the new toy of the other - a Kindle reading device. Despite being a conservative who thinks that the object of reading is a real book that you can leaf through rather than an e-book that you browse on a screen, I have to say I was impressed. The size and weight, which are about the same as a 200-page paperback, are just right. With no glare or backlight, the user can, as my colleague proudly testified, read for hours without straining the eyes. And in that pink cover that set her off another USD35 on top of the USD139 for the device itself, the unit looked beautiful. The nice picture of my colleague elegantly reading an e-book on a train popped up in my mind.
"I've been really busy during the weekend," she said. "I didn't expect the two devices I ordered at different times arrived almost at the same time and I had to figure out how to use them.
The other device she was talking about was an i-Phone 4. I asked whether she had ordered it online or from a local store and how long it had taken for delivery. She said she placed the order in an Apple Shop about three weeks ago.
No wonder the stock price of Apple has recently reached a historical high. I am sure that Amazon must be doing pretty well too. Instead of the traditional way of sales where companies make the products and display them on shop shelves for consumers to take home, and in so doing incurring costs and risks, today the marketing and logistics of these giants make it possible for them to start the manufacturing process only after an order and, better still, full payment have been received. Faithful consumers are only too happy to wait a couple of weeks for the products to arrive at their doors. Selling software, such as e-books, songs and computer programs, online is even better. It is true that, as my colleague crooned, e-books are sold at much cheaper prices than print books, but one must not forget that there is no production cost involved. Mind you, I'm not saying NO COST, but when all they are delivering to you online are megabites or gigabites of computer files, they don't have to spend any money on printing, binding, reproducing, packing, storing, delivering, selling and all that. Is this not an absolute dream for anyone doing business?
I haven't rushed home to place an order for Kindle, but to be honest, I am quite tempted. One thing is for certain though. If I do own a Kindle, it won't be with a pink cover!