Within the world of information marketing, there is the concept of a ‘priceless solution’. A priceless solution can be found when:
1) A person has a problem that is causing him pain
2) He is actively searching for a solution
3) There are few or no alternate solutions
As a result, that person is willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a solution – a priceless solution.
When stranded on a deserted island, a freshwater spring is a priceless solution. When having a allergic reaction, an EpiPen is a priceless solution. And for me on my travels, the Amazon Kindle is a priceless solution.
Even as I travel the world, I want to keep studying and learning, and so I turn to my usual source – books. But books, they are quite heavy, as well as quite expensive when not ordered from Amazon. While I was traveling by campervan through New Zealand, the solution was fairly simple. I’d simply stop by secondhand stores (salvation army, goodwill) to pick up cheap books, store them in the car, and exchange them at book exchanges when done.
Of course, you never know what books you’ll find, but that was half the fun, looking through the book collections like a treasure hunt. At some book exchanges, you’d find many interesting books. At others, you’d find an entire bookshelf full of nothing but romance novels. I ended up picking up books like From Russia with Love, Hannibal, and Godel, Bach, Escher.
But once I left New Zealand and no longer had infinite storage capacity, it became much harder to be a bookworm. Airlines have 14 kilogram carry-on capacity, book exchanges are filled with non-English books, and books are quite bulky and hard to lug around.
I learned a long time ago that audiobooks and conventional ebooks are right out – I tune out audiobooks within five minutes, and ebooks on computer / netbook displays are just painful on the eyes, as well as on battery life.
1. A problem causing pain … check!
2. Actively searching for solutions … check!
3. Few or no good solutions … check!
About this time, I realized that hey, there’s this product out there, called the Amazon Kindle. It’s small and light, isn’t hell on the eyes, has long battery life, and can handle pdfs and ebooks with ease. The problem is, it’s pretty hard to get while traveling – Amazon doesn’t ship Kindles to Thailand, Malaysia, or Indonesia.
So I spent a couple of days poking around electronics stores asking if they had any Kindles in stock (no), looked online and found stores like KindleMalaysia.com selling them at 100% markup (ouch!), and considered getting folks back home to ship me one ($60 shipping…)
But then, I discovered that there was a better solution – Singapore! Some entrepreneurial spirits in Singapore were buying Kindles from overseas and selling them at a small non-eye-gouging markup!
And so that’s my story of how I discovered a priceless solution to my problem, and made a pit stop in Singapore expressly to pick up a Kindle.
And in the first two weeks since picking up the Kindle, I’ve already read four books. Go figure.