There are any number of reasons to pick yourself up a Kindle, from convenience of transportation to instant 24-hour delivery of all new book purchases, but let’s take it down to the basics for a moment. Assuming that you have absolutely no concern besides the direct tradeoffs with paper, how much do you have to read before your Kindle has justified itself?
We’ll make the somewhat depressing assumption that you read nothing but current bestsellers. I sincerely hope this isn’t the case, of course, but it makes the price estimation easier for me and negates the obvious point of free books that you should already be aware save you money. Looking through the top 15 bestselling new hardcover book releases in the Amazon.com store(not the Kindle Store since that might indicate a customer predisposition toward discounted books), there are 13 books that the Kindle saves money on, one where the price is even based on pre-order discounting, and one book that is not available in Kindle format.
The actual average savings on those books that are available is around $2.47(ranging from $0.98 to $5), but for the sake of argument we can round it down to $2. Always better to err on the side of caution. This means approximately 58 Kindle books purchased during the life of your Kindle device before it has saved you money, if you pick up the $114 Kindle WiFi w/ Special Offers. Now, I’m aware that reading five books per week is abnormal so my average doesn’t really play into this. For the sake of argument, it seems safe to assume a conservative pattern of finishing a book every two weeks. That would mean that you have to own a Kindle for a little over two years before it saves you any money, assuming this level of consumption and no taking advantage of special offers or hunting for savings. Not unreasonable, if perhaps more than some would like. These things do work pretty much forever if you take care of them. It also might be worth knowing that Kindle owners are said to buy books at more than three times the rate of paper book customers, which speeds things up a bit.
Another major concern that has come up before is the environmental impact of eReading. While there is definitely a lot more that goes into the manufacture of an eReader like the Kindle than ever would in a paper book, there is more than that to take into account. Between production, transportation, storage, shipping, and all the other associated fuel costs, each book creates a noticeable amount of pollution. The question is where these numbers cross over.
Last year, in reference to Kindle 2 production, a report came out on the impact of producing Kindles compared to that of books which said that a Kindle creates a bit over 20 times as much pollution as a book in its creation. You could always assume that Amazon has gotten more efficient in their production with the next generation of the device, improved processes being good at that sort of thing, but let’s ignore that speculation and focus on what numbers we actually have. Round that first estimation up to 30 books worth if you want to account for the impact of charging your Kindle and I would be willing to bet that there are still very, very few people ever to own an eReader who didn’t manage to offset these totals.
Putting aside used books and libraries, since if you buy used books then you already know the advantages and the interaction between libraries and Kindles is in flux at the moment and hard to judge in the long term, picking up a Kindle, or any eReader, is just generally a good long term investment for you and the planet.
There has been an observable trend of declining Kindle prices ever since the first incarnation of Amazon’s popular eReader in 2007. It has actually been surprisingly steady and at one point led to rumors that there will be a free Kindle arriving in 2011 or 2012. I’m not going to say that there won’t be a free Kindle at some point. There very well might, especially if Amazon finds enough advertisers willing to buy into their Kindle w/ Special Offers scheme. For now, however, I think that the more realistic hope would be a version of the same priced at, or simply a price cut to, less than $100.
For many people, this number has become emblematic. It is the point at which eReaders become “worth it”, for whatever reason. Even with the release of the recent ad-supported Kindle at just $115, people have still been expressing disappointment and outrage over that last fifteen dollars. Now, we have to assume that Amazon is aware of this. I don’t know how large a group of people it represents, but it is definitely a vocal one. I can see two major reasons why they might have chosen, up until now, to avoid giving in to these pressures.
The most obvious is simply production costs. Many reports have estimated that Amazon is almost certainly selling the Kindle at or below the cost of manufacture. If this is the case, then even with Kindle book sales on the rise I could definitely understand a certain hesitation on the part of Amazon to accept a loss of fifteen dollars per unit on millions of units per year. Not only would I call this scenario likely, I would say that the release of a Kindle supported by advertising is evidence of Amazon’s need to find creative ways to bring costs down. As the trend catches on and advertisers buy into the idea, it should be possible for prices to drop even more.
The other explanation, which is not exclusive of the first by any means, is that Amazon wanted to catch people’s attention with a price drop early in the year but still have something in reserve for the holiday season. Let’s face it, the time to be launching an ad campaign highlighting your newly affordable piece of portable electronics is right before the holiday season. By holding off for a bit, it gives them room to time the all important move into impulse buy pricing.
There have been chances to grab eReaders for less than $100 before, including refurbished Kindles and Nooks that I’ve seen for as low as $80, but this would be the first regularly available, new, full featured, current generation eReader to hit that level as far as I know. We can be sure that the Nook will follow suit as soon as B&N figures out how to afford it, but this would be an even bigger advantage for the Kindle than it has at present. It would also do a great deal to set the product apart even further from any Tablet PC offerings that Amazon may or may not be releasing this year, which seems vital if they are following through with the plan to continue offering a dedicated eReader indefinitely.
It seems that in one day we not only get a drop in price for the Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) nook, one of the front runners in the eReader device marketplace, but an immediate reaction and one-upping from Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN).
As already reported, the nook has undergone a steep drop in price from $259 to $199, as well as welcoming a new member to the product family: A WiFi only model at a mere $149. In response, Amazon has cut the price of their ever-popular Kindle from $259 to $189 in what can only be seen as a direct and hostile response to B&N’s move.
One of the main sources for concern lately among critics has been the pricing of these devices. While always a reasonable investment for the avid reader, some have had trouble justifying the expense of the more popular and full-featured of the eReaders such as the Kindle and nook. This is quickly becoming a non-issue. The Kobo made its splash by setting an amazing new low price for the market and mere months later we have one product with a more robust support list and feature set being offered at the same $149 price, and the most popular and well-supported eBook reading device on the market today for just $40 more. There is simply no excuse anymore not to own one. Amazon and B&N are in a price war and the only one winning is the reader.
Amazon.com has partnered up with Chase in a rare limited time offer where you can get up to $100 off the Kindle paying a total of $259 for the device – the offer ends on September 8th.
Get the Amazon Rewards Visa Card and Get $100 Off Kindle
Thanks to Chase, you get $100 off Kindle when you get the new Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card. Limited time only. Here’s how this works: 1) Apply Online. Get a response in as little as 30 seconds. If you’re approved, we will instantly add the card to your Amazon.com account and you’ll get $30 back on your credit card statement after your purchase. 2) Add a Kindle to your cart. 3) Place your order using the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card and enter this promo code: VISACARD to get the additional $70 savings at checkout. Additional restrictions apply.
Now you might be thinking why is Chase offering to subsidise you up to $100 for a Kindle, well, they want you to start using their credit card called the Amazon.com Rewards Visa card, and over time Chase hopes to recoup the $100 through interest payments. The promotion is offered and paid for by Chase, not Amazon, so for those who have bought the Kindle in the past couple of weeks, Amazon wont refund you the $70 that Chase is subsidising the Kindle.
Once your approved for the card, which Amazon says takes less than a minute, Chase will add $30 in credit to your Amazon.com Rewards Visa card. Once the card is added to your Amazon.com account you can add the Kindle to your shopping cart and apply the “VISACARD” discount code for an additional $70 off. This code will only work if you add Kindle to you cart and go through the normal checkout process and don’t use 1-click, the discount should work even if you already have the Amazon.com Rewards Visa card, unfortunately the $30 credit is for new card customers only.
A Kindle for $259 was an offer too good for me to pass, for the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about getting a Kindle for my wife, once I heard about this offer my mind was made up – I was going to get it. Once I was approved for the card, sure enough I put the “VISACARD” code in and a $70 discount was applied to the Kindle. My wife’s shiny new Kindle should arrive on Monday, perfect.
Now I’m not a big user/fan of credit cards in any case, I religiously pay whatever I owe off every month, but since there isn’t a yearly fee for having the Amazon rewards card, I don’t mind applying for it, I guess it will just sit there nicely in my wallet. If you do decide to go for it, make sure you pay it off and don’t drive yourself into debt, if you don’t trust yourself you can always cut the card up as soon as you get it.
Will you be taking advantage of this offer?
As a Kindle owner with over 100 e-books–many of them only half read I must admit–on my Kindle, I have found that I’ve been buying a lot on impulse. If the product description excites me, then I will buy it considering the price is under $5. If its between $5 and $9.99 then I will pause for a moment to consider if I will actually read it all the way through. However once the price of an e-book passes the $9.99 mark, then I automatically don’t want to buy the book, even if I really want it. My mind is telling me that if your practically going to pay full price, you might as-well get a dead-tree book.
The thing is, it’s so easy to buy books on the Kindle, it almost feels like your not spending money, but once the price passes $9.99 it does feel like your spending money. Just like Apple got it right with 99-cents per song on iTunes, this is where Amazon got it right as-well, $9.99 is the perfect price for new releases.
If all those book I didn’t purchase because they were priced above $9.99 not been, then I would have probably have had about 125-130 titles on my Kindle by now. I’m willing to bet many other Kindle owners are walking away from purchases because of pricing, perhaps its a psychological barrier which I have become used to which means I cant buy books above $9.99. One of the reasons behind my purchasing a Kindle was the reduced price for many books, now when e-book are being priced at $2 or $3 cheaper than their printed counterparts then it hardly seem worth investing $400 for the Kindle.
I realise that Amazon probably doesn’t set for most of the e-book on Kindle, so publishers need to get the message that the $9.99 price tag means more sales and that pricing e-books higher than that is stifling their growth.
Do/Would/Should you pay more than $9.99 for a Kindle e-book?
That’s what analyst Steve Weinstein of Portland’s Pacific Crest told the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that Amazon has sold around 40,000 units so far this year and could sell between 700,000 – 800,000 by the end of 2008 hitting $2.5 billion in sales by 2012.
Considering that Apple sold 376,000 iPod units in its first year, the numbers look promising, that’s considering you believe Mr Weinstein’s numbers – we think his numbers are highly inflated and Mark Mahaney’s figures are more realistic. But that’s not the interesting part of Steve Weinstein’s analysis, he goes on to say that Kindle wont have the same impact on the industry as the iPod had on the music industry, – I think we can all agree on that – one reason being that that price of the Kindle, currently at $359, is too expensive for mass acceptance. Is $359 too expensive? what we have got to remember is that Kindle is the first generation device, and prices will inevitably drop.
Tim McCall, VP of sales at Penguin Group USA said “We see it as an incremental change” suggesting that the Kindle is a catalyst in an overall move towards an e-book distribution model for the industry. Tim McCall added “It’s certainly a device that has energized the digitization of books”.
Is the Kindle too expensive for mass acceptance? what do you think:
Amazon updated the Kindle product page this morning with a 10% reduction in the price of the Kindle, the price drop is a welcome one and also includes free 2-day shipping. So if you have been waiting for the price to drop before purchasing a Kindle, now is your chance to get one before stocks run out again!
The price drop was expected, as predicted by most analysts, further drops are expected in the future but that all depends on a stable supply of Kindle devices. The reason Kindle has been out of stock so frequently is because a single factory has been manufacturing the Kindles, so far supply has FAR exceeded demand, but just over a month ago Amazon brought on-line a second factory, which should create a more stable supply of Kindle devices.
Amazon is expect to drop the price around 15% a year, so by 2010 the device should be priced at around $300 in line with expectations, meaning I wouldn’t expect another price drop until around Christmas time.
Source: Amazon Kindle Store – Kindle now $359 with free 2-day shipping