Kindle Re-Kindled

One of the big news items over the past couple of weeks has been Amazon's announcement of the Kindle Fire, along with other new Kindle flavors. I think at this point, we can safely say that the Fire will not be an iPad Killer, however, Amazon's new announcements should definitely have an impact upon the Tablet market going forward. Specifically, many forecasted that the Fire would be coming in with a $300 price tag; seeing it offered at a hundred less than that is definitely welcoming news.

More exciting to me, is the announcement of the base Kindle model which is now offered at $79, with 2GB of book space. Though it's without a keypad (mostly not needed, in my opinion), we've seen quite an evolution from the original 250MB model ---which was priced at $399. At $79, the base model is a stone's throw from a price I'd like to see it at ---around $50--- which I believe is a price Amazon will reach sooner than later. Even at $79, I'm ready to purchase one for my wife, who hasn't wanted the many offerings of the iPad, but can see the benefit of having a lightweight and inexpensive reader that can go to the beach with her. At some point, I'm sure I'll pick up this entry model for myself so I too can read outside (I love my iPad, but it's definitely an inside tool).

Here's one thing that I can't understand, however: if Amazon really wants to be an "iPad Killer," why don't they offer the Kindle (at least the entry model) for FREE? I've thought this even back in the days when they were raking in the $399 price.

On my iPad, I've bet on Amazon to be the bookstore that will win out in the end. When I purchase a new book, I don't buy from the Apple store, or Barnes and Noble, and thank goodness I never invested in building a library with Borders (though currently, there is an exit plan for any books purchased with them... but for how long?). I want my ebooks purchased to stay with the store that has the best outlook for succeeding so that 15 years from now, I can still read them. This may be naïve on my part, but I think they'll be safest with the Amazon giant. Whether I like the company or not, I am loyal to Amazon.

However, think of how many more loyal readers Amazon would have if they gave away a reader for free (or even close to free)? Once someone commits to the Amazon reader, they're going to buy their books primarily from Amazon. (If have doubts that FREE is even possible, read Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson).

As an alternative, think how many Kindles would sell (regardless of model), if Amazon filled them with books upon purchase? $79 for a Kindle? Fill it with $79 worth of books. Remember, these ebooks are easily copyable digits. They're made once, easily stored and delivered, and easily reap profit. I would plunk down $79 dollars today for a Kindle if it was filled with even half the price equal in ebooks. On average, ebooks come in at $10. Even putting three $10 books on the machine would more than entice folks to the device due to the savings they would realize over physical books.

I've been trying to convince my wife of the Kindle for a while, and besides the previous high price tags, she's asserted that she would rather use the Public Library to borrow books. The wonderful thing is that this is possible with Kindle at most libraries. It was always my belief that you could only do this with an actual Kindle, but today after logging into my Public Library's website, I was able to borrow an ebook which I could send to my Kindle app on my iPad. Most of the books that I wanted to borrow had a long waiting period for them, and I'm not sure if I can renew them after the two week lending period, but this is certainly a feature that has brought my wife on board with the idea of an ebook reader.

How many of you are going with the Kindle due to the new price drops? Will you too be getting on board?