No story of digital transformation can be complete without the Amazon story.
I was a regular visitor to Barnes & Noble's stores. I am a speed reader, who loves browsing through books, before buying them. B&N offered opportunity for customers like me to purchase books that I will come back and read again if it is in my library. And the Starbucks coffee helped too.
But that changed in 1996, as I heard about a company called Amazon. Amazon enabled you to order books online, after you previewed through few sample pages, online. The book was delivered to your door in 3 days.
A major shift in this workflow came in 2007, when Amazon introduced Kindle device. Kindle connects you to Amazon marketplace, so you can browse through books, read samples and previews, and buy the digital copy of the book, to be read on, what else, the Kindle. Here came the e-book. Do appreciate that components needed for such shift took almost 12 years to be ready, since the Amazon sold its first book online, back in 1995.
Then around 2009-11, Amazon unleashed Kindle as a software to be used for PCs and smart phones. In doing so, they brought back their transformation focus to original workflow of browsing, ordering, fetching and reading books, and not the medium - the kindle or paper copy.
But, the transformation became truly complete, when In May 2016, Amazon released the Kindle Audio Adapter for reading e-books aloud via a text-to-speech (TTS) system for the blind and visually impaired.
At this juncture, Amazon digitally transformed 'reading books' to 'listening to book' and in between they brought in new population who could now enjoy the world of books.
In part 3, we will look at social implications of this Digital Transformation.