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The new Kindles are coming, as we expected

September 28, 2011

I would be remiss if I did not mention today’s news of a $199 Kindle tablet. I write, I read, and I work in a bookstore – this is big news for my livelihood. It’s not dire news, but it will definitely have an impact on what I do.

For starters, $199 is a killer price point. There is no way that Amazon is making any money on the sale of these devices. I’m actually not certain they’re going to break even. The money they do make, of course, will come from the sales of media for the device – specifically in the form of ebooks and music, and Amazon Prime subscriptions. As the prime subscription at $79 per year is really the driver behind the $199 price, it makes a lot of sense. You’re not buying a $199 tablet, you’re buying a $199 + $79 per year for every year you own the device tablet.

Also, Amazon announced a new line of e-ink Kindles this morning as well. They bill them at 3 price points – $79, $99, and $149. But that’s very deceptive, because those ore the prices for the “special offer” Kindles. They’re ad based, which I absolutely hate. The actual prices of the devices are $109, $139, and $189. Really not different at all from NOOK offerings, which these devices are designed to compete against. Frankly, I’m far less impressed with these new e-ink Kindles than I am with the Kindle tablet.

The addition of ad based price points actually makes me question whether or not you’ll find advertising in the tablet as well. There’s no indication of that yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw it sooner rather than later. The tablet OS that Amazon has placed on the device is a forked version of Android without access to anything Android does. Inserting ads through their own new web browser would be, frankly, a no-brainer.

Overall, my impression of Amazon’s new devices now that we know what they are still doesn’t deviate much from what I’ve said before. The $199 tablet price is the 900 pound gorilla in the e-reader market room now though. And it’s the one feature that I think other device manufactures (read, my employer) will have to react to.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Julia permalink
    September 28, 2011 6:19 pm

    I know your point here is not to plug Nook (or any brand of e-reader), but I just have to throw in the two cents I invariably offer to any discussion of e-readers and say that thankfully, there still exist actual, tangible books. Real ink, spine, paper (with that singular, lovely smell), worn, yellowing pages and all. Completely devoid of ads of any sort for all their existence.


    • October 1, 2011 12:29 am

      Agreed. I love them too. And as an aspiring writer, the future of all kinds of books is of great interest to me. However, it would be naive of me to think the future of books is in print. As sad as it may be, this fact is as clear to me now as it has ever been. This is not to say that print books will disappear completely, as I don’t believe that they will. But for writers and publishers and lowly booksellers, we have to face facts. If I am to make money as a writer, it will surely be mostly digitally.


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