Back in August of last year, Slate’s Farhad Majoo predicted that the Kindle–$139 as of the time he wrote his story–would be $99 by the holidays. His prognostication that didn’t pan out: the Kindle’s price stayed put at $139. But Amazon just announced a new Kindle at a lower price. It’s called the Kindle with Special Offers, and it’s the $139 Kindle with the new twist of promotions for deals at the bottom of the home screen and on the screen saver (but not within books themselves). It sells for $114, or $25 less than its ad-free counterpart.
The special offers Amazon.com provides as examples are all deep discounts of the sort you might be happy to take advantage of even if they weren’t subsidizing the price of your Kindle:
- $10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Card
- $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
- $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)
- $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop
- Free $100 Amazon.com Gift Card when you get an Amazon Rewards Visa Card (normally $30)
- Buy one of 30 Kindle bestsellers with your Visa card and get $10 Amazon.com credit
- 50% off Roku Streaming Player (normally $99)
The $25 discount over the non-ad-supported Kindle isn’t huge–it works out to about 18%–and I suspect that this new version will appeal far more to folks who kind of like the idea of the special offers than to those who see them only as a way to cut the up-front cost of the e-reader. I’m be curious to know what percentage of Kindle buyers will opt for the $114 version–and so, perhaps, is Amazon. If it’s a hit, it might mark the beginning of a shift in the Kindle’s business model.
All of which leaves an unanswered question: how cheap is the Kindle going to get? Kevin Kelly looked at the historical pricing trend for the Kindle and wondered if it might be free by this November. It’s fun to toy with that notion, but before Kindles are free, they’ll have to reach the $99 price point that Farhad mused about in mid-2010.
Let’s end this with a silly little poll on the new Kindle: