Amazon.com: Reading Group Guide for

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Amazon.com: Reading Group Guide for The Cluetrain Manifesto : The End of Business As Usual
"Amazon.com’s founder Jeff Bezos recently alluded to the book when commenting on a recent controversy regarding Amazon.com’s patents. He said, "On an important meta-level, one thing to note is that this episode is a fascinating example of the new world, where companies can have conversations with their customers, and customers can have conversations with their companies. I’ve been saying for four years now that, online, the balance of power shifts away from the merchant and toward the customer. This is a good thing." Do you agree? Is the customer the one who really prospers? Why?"
I’m quoting the Amazon.com staff asking its customers to think about how their CEO reffered to the Cluetrain Manifesto while discussing patents with Tim O’Reilly. A bit circular but interesting nonetheless. Here Amazon.com is introducing reading group guides, another trick to get people to point to their site as the ultimate way to refer to a book. If only Amazon was as smart with outbound links as they are getting incoming traffic. Group guides also help Amazon increase peer pressure and bandwagon effects ("everyone else is reading these books, get a clue and buy them!")
While trying to find other books that had a reading group guide, I "discovered" [email protected], their corporate book section. Bulk orders won’t get you any discount but companies have payment options beside credit cards. Here’s some lightweight, sensible B2B if you ask me. I’m convinced there are some books you want all of your employees to read and "swear on" (and maybe your customers too.)
As a side note, the recent introduction of ebooks was well integrated into the usual online store, since "digital" is just another format besides hardcover or paperback. The only problem is pricing. Digital products are cheaper to manufacture and distribute. Until these savings are transferred to the consumer, hardcover/CD prices for ebooks/MP3s feel like lame attempts by publishers and record companies to increase their margins.
Note: all these links to Amazon.com come with my affiliate tag. You have my blessing to do corporate bulk purchases by the dozen through them! You’re also free to despise this blatant mix of editorial and advertising (muhahahah.)
12/13/00 update: other bookclubs are located at Amazon.com/bookclubs, a link I strangely found through a new printer-friendly template.

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