Books written by Ray Sullivan

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Amazon Get Royal Seal of Approval

Amazon are doing quite well this season.  Despite lack-lustre reviews of the Amazon Kindle Fire on its release in November, the device seems to be selling very well in the US.  In fact Amazon have broken with tradition and have released broad brush figures for sales.  It seems that for the last three weeks they have moved a million Kindle devices a week over the pond.  The report doesn't breakout the device split - it covers all the models available in the US, but it implies that the Kindle Fire is forming a major part of the sales.  It is believed that Amazon make a loss on every Kindle Fire they sell, so there is an element of mixed blessings for Amazon.

But it seems they've achieved a coup de grace.  They have received permission from the British Royal Family to release the Queen's Christmas Speech 2011 as a free download for Kindle.  In addition they are making available as a free ebook a compendium of all the Queen's Christmas Speeches since Her Majesty ascended the thone in 1952 right through to the 2010 speech.

In the UK the Queen's Speech has a mixed reception; it's such a part of the Christmas programming it can be regarded as almost wallpaper.  However, for some people it's an essential 'must watch', but in some cases it's almost in the way some people always go to midnight Mass, even if they don't actually believe in a God.  But, regardless of the point of view of the person watching, listening or reading the Queen's Speech, one thing is undeniable - it is an incisive analysis of the United Kingdom and the much wider Commonwealth.  Her Majesty is not afraid of squaring up to the challenges of society, but does so in a way that all of us could learn from.

While Her Majesty may not captivate Her subjects totally, she does have that enigmatic marketing capabilty; reach.  Not only is Her speech broadcast in the UK and the Commonwealth, but it's broadcast worldwide.  The Queen is a respected member of the International Community in a way that Prime Ministers and Presidents aspire to, but fail.  In short, Her Majesty commands respect worldwide.

So the latest venture, allowing Amazon to provide all of the previous Queen's Speeches for free plus this year's as soon as it has been broadcast shouldn't be a surprise - the British Royal Family have a track record of blazing a technological trail - starting with radio, then TV, now eBooks. What is consistent with their approach is that they back a technology when it's ready for backing - they are a successfull horse racing family after all!

But they are remarkably fair, to be fair.  The Kindle download is only one way of reading the Queen's Speech for 2011 - you can also read it on their website and on the BBC website.  Additionally the Royal Palace hasn't given Amazon an exclusive contract for the downloads - obviously the $6M bribe didn't wash with them as well, so it's good to know I'm in tune with my Monarch.  Although the timing is tight the Palace hasn't ruled out other eBook suppliers providing the speeches.  Writing this on the 24th I recognise that the other eBook companies might be stretched to match Amazon before the 25th December unless they've already made arrangements. But the Royal Palace has made it very clear that any other eBook company that wants to provide these products, they just need to get in touch.

Have a great Christmas - and don't forget to tune into the Da Dan Brown Code Christmas special tomorrow!

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