Does Reisman have the write stuff?
American rival Amazon ups ante with Canadian warehouse
As the battle of the e-book readers heats up, pitting Amazon’s Kindle against Indigo’s Kobo, and with Amazon preparing to open its own distribution centre for the first time on Canadian soil, we ask, “What will it take for the Toronto-based company’s CEO, Heather Reisman, to defend her home turf?”
KEEP AT IT WITH KOBO
I’m usually pretty cynical when it comes to Canadian companies competing in technology against American counterparts, but I’m kind of liking what Indigo/Kobo is doing. Kobo is making a strong case for being number two in the fast-growing e-book business. One of the big advantages Kobo has over Amazon is that its e-readers accommodate the ePub open file format, which allows them to work with libraries.
Peter Nowak technology journalist and author of Sex, Bombs and Burgers
CAPTURE READERS WITH CANADIANA
Heather needs to put books in front of readers, while creating a distinctly Canadian book retailing identity. First, akin to the iTunes cards that give a free sample song, Heather should create KoboReads cards with free short stories or first chapters of Canadian books. Take one with your latte. Second, Heather should sell award shortlisted books by subscription. We love our Canadian awards, and a “book-of the-month-type” subscription to the GG, Rogers, and Giller short lists year round, would keep us staring at our Kobos or checking the mailbox.
Vincent Lam author of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
ENHANCE THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE
Over the last 10 years Chapters has created a more comprehensive bricks and clicks strategy, but has not gone far enough. Now that Amazon.ca has provided a new threat, Chapters needs to build on its strengths: the stores and the people who add to the consumer shopping experience. Chapters must drive more traffic to the stores. One way would be to allow consumers to pick up their purchases in the store, just as Best Buy has done in the electronics space.
Steve Tissenbaum lecturer, Ted Rogers School of Retail Management
DEFINE YOURSELF IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
This is less about home turf and much more about what happens to commerce in a digital world. Amazon has a unique position because they were building infrastructure and tools during — and post — the dot-com implosion. Chapters-Indigo is challenged in this realm because, as my friend Avinash Kaushik (analytics evangelist for Google) says, “The Internet is not in their blood.” In the end, Chapters-Indigo is going to have to define what they are because their current model is digitizing more and more with each passing day.
Mitch Joel president of Twist Image and author of Six Pixels of Separation