The Kindle Reader rumours never seem to let up. In January 2011, a select number of Amazon customers were given an a backhanded free Kindle reading device. They were told if they didn’t like it, they could receive a full refund but they wouldn’t need to bother returning the device.
Ever since rumours have been doing the rounds that there might be a ways to supply the ebook reader free of charge. Of course we doubt it could ever be free really. But, perhaps by supplying the device to customers already loyal to the company, and avid readers would make sense. These people are easy to pick too, since they are simply those willing to pay the $79 yearly fee to become an Kindle Prime customer. The fee qualifies you for free two day shipping and unlimited video streaming. Throw in a Kindle and you can virtually guarantee even more sales of ebooks – the most hassle free way to distribute books.
Another cause for the free Kindle speculations is the trend in pricing. Since the launch in early 2009, the price has fallen steadily from the original $350 to its current level well under $200. If the trend in price drops continues the Kindle could theoretically hit the zero mark by November 2011. John Walkenbach has been updated his simple chart since the beginning, and though we know statistics can tell us anything, the lovely downward line is pretty convincing…
Now to be honest I cannot imagine for a minute that we will all be benefitting from a free ebook reader. But the price is likely to drop significantly, making it rather like a mobile phone or razor. The hardware is cheap but you pay the company dividends with your calls or over-priced blades. This doesn’t seem like too bad a deal since the Kindle books are some of the cheapest electronic books around. But of course we will need to be aware that if piracy grows too common-place we might be facing higher prices for both the books and the device to read them on.
The one thing that really intrigued me, was this quote from Walkenbach:
I’ve mentioned this forecast to all kinds of folks. In August, 2010 I had the chance to point it out to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. He merely smiled and said, “Oh, you noticed that!” And then smiled again.
That doesn’t seem like it is the reaction of a man bothered about quashing free Kindle ebook reader rumours now does it? But one thing not mentioned, is what about the next generation Kindle? Frankly if color, touch or anything else comes to the Amazon ebook reader I think we will see the current version as free, and everyone wanting to still buy there slinkier flashier model.