Monday, March 21, 2011

Come Fly With An eBook

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, has four hundred etitles available in English or Chinese which can be read in the airport on some thirty devices. However, today they can’t be taken away or downloaded onto the user's own device. The service is run by the airport duty-free shop and was instigated by Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, whose government-funded Institute for Information Industry injected some $101,720 to establish it.

With up to 17 million passengers a year, only thirty devices, some 400 titles and the restriction to the airport duty free area make the initative very questionable and also whether this has the power to lift off.

However, it does make sense to dispense ebooks at airports and it makes even more sense to rent them for a flight or journey. You could even rent out devices based on a return flight confirmation and deposit security. You could tie the service to major carriers and ensure that the content reflects not just English language but other major languages. You could also sell devices at duty free prices to a captive audience.

Imagine a circulating library in the sky? Every major hub offering a duty free service combined with the major airline alliances. You can preselect your rental when you book your flight and merely activate it on arrival and even have a device waiting for you, just like pre ordering a special meal. At the end of the rental the title merely deletes itself, offering the option to extend the rental at a further cost.

The attractive element is that the loan of the device can be secured against both refundable deposit and a know individual. Unlike other transport everyone is a known passenger which presents great opportunities to market and up-sell and even those in-flight movies could be tied in if the device is compatible.

Taiwan may not appear to have got the model right today but have opened up a very interesting channel full of rich potential and which has millions of potential customers.

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