Stephen Covey's New Habit Hurts His e-Readers

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Stephen R. Covey gave his followers a good "7 Habits" lesson today, inking a deal that gives Amazon exclusive e-book rights to his business bestsellers.

Covey teaches the value of "win-win" to his students, but in this case only Covey and Amazon win. What about everyone else?

Covey, whose book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," remains in Amazon's top 300, attempts in his writing to lay out a path to business and personal success. First published in 1989, the book has spawned a number of related titles and a paper and electronic planner business.

I have attended Covey seminars and read his books. I don't always manage to carry out all seven habits, but neither, apparently, does the man, himself.

Now, about this "win-win" stuff Covey espouses. I wonder how that meshes with cutting an exclusive deal with Amazon and its Kindle e-reader?

Sure, it's win-win for Covey and Amazon, but what about the Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, and other e-book hardware? How do they participate in this win? And what about Covey's readers? How is this a win for us?

Another Covey tenet is to "begin with the end in mind."

Does Dr. Covey really want to disadvantage the brick and mortar bookstores who got him started, have supported him, and without whom he'd probably still be teaching at Brigham Young?

Is he prepared for an "end" in which Barnes & Noble stops selling his books altogether? (That's what I'd do if I were them).

How about an end in which all bestselling authors ink special deals with one e-reader or another, resulting in a fracturing of the idea that all books should be available to all readers?

The last thing readers need are battling booksellers. Books are already in enough trouble without Dr. Covey's help. But, for him this is a win-win, so who are we to complain?

I would, however, like to suggest a new habit for Dr. Covey, it's "dance with the one who brung ya," a habit drawn from my Texan roots. Put another way: Jerking around your friends and fans is not a win-win.

David Coursey has been writing about technology products and companies for more than 25 years. He tweets as @techinciter and may be contacted via his Web site.

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