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Why is the Kindle so anti-social?

I’ve now had my Kindle for a couple of months and I’m really liking it.  The battery life is amazing, purchases are seemless and fast, and the screen is easy to read from.  I’ve probably done more reading in the last couple of months than I have in the last year.

There’s something consipicuously absent from the Kindle, though—other people.  Reading and shopping from the Kindle is a disappointingly closed and solitary experience.  I can’t see what other friends of mine are reading from Amazon.  I can’t tweet my latest purchases.  I underline portions of books, but those clips just sit dormant on the device, completely unsharable.  What I’d really like to do is share all my book quotes on Tumblr

It shouldn’t be too surprising, though.  Despite purchasing Shelfari, Amazon has severely lagged behind the social game.  Despite the company’s blowout financial performance, you have to imagine the company is leaving even more on the table by not pulling its users into the service through social networking.  It could lock in loyalty to it’s fantastic Kindle hardware with network effects with a few simple features—like letting users opt in to sharing purchases.  The closest it ever came was letting Facebook post Amazon purchases through Beacon—and that didn’t turn out so well.  Perhaps they were left a bit bruised from that experience?

Still, you have to believe that a well thought out social strategy could cement Amazon’s place in the hearts and wallets of consumers and it boggles my mind that they’ve done so little in this area.

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