Amazon.com decided to cut the prices of its original Kindle device, to $259-$279, as it faces increased competition from Sony and other manufacturers in the e-reader space. The price cut could also be an attempt to put Amazon.com on more advantageous competitive ground against Apple's much-rumored tablet PC, which current speculation suggests will include e-reader functionality and digital book downloads via iTunes.
slashed the price of its Kindle e-reader, likely in response to vigorous
competition from manufacturers such as Sony and the prospect of a huge battle
with Apple in 2010.
the new price structure, customers can purchase the original Kindle for $279
with a 3G wireless connection capable of downloading material in the U.S.
and 100 other countries. A Kindle with wireless that downloads only in the United States
is available for $259 from Amazon.com's online storefront
also announced that more than 85 U.S.
and international magazines and newspapers would be available for download
through the Kindle Store, including The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph
(UK), The Washington Post and The International Herald Tribune. International
customers will have access to some 200,000 English-language books.
Amazon.com boasts a high degree of 3G connectivity for Kindle users in the
continental United States, Japan, Europe, and much of Russia, China and South
America, there are also a number uncovered countries including Mongolia,
Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Cuba and most of Africa.
was seen as a good one by some analysts.
are smart moves for Amazon, as a good proportion of early Kindle adopters have
been business travelers, who were frustrated by the inability to download new
books outside the country," says Larry Fisher, an analyst with NextGen
Research, ABI Research's emerging technologies arm, wrote in a research note
e-mailed to eWEEK. "It also opens up the rest of the world as potential
markets for Amazon and the Kindle, at a time when competing e-book readers have
been trying to make the transition from other countries to the U.S. market."
DX, which features a 9.7-inch screen in contrast to the original Kindle's
6-inch version, still retails for $489.
attracted a substantial amount of buzz for the Kindle line, thanks at least in
part to a series of high-profile launches earlier in 2009. On Feb. 9, Amazon CEO
Jeff Bezos capped the introduction of the Kindle 2 at the Morgan Library and
Museum in New York City by
having Stephen King take the stage for a reading from the device
translated into healthy sales for the Kindle. Although Bezos has declined to
break out exact numbers, he suggested over the summer that Kindle-related
sales have brought in 35 percent of his company's book-related revenue
with all successful things, however, competition inevitably arises. Sony
remains the online retailer's arguably biggest opponent in the space, marketing
two e-readers in August with price points of $199 and $299 seemingly designed
to undercut the Kindle's pricing.
addition, smaller companies plan on retailing e-readers in coming quarters that
mirror much of the Kindle's functionality. Plastic
Logic, for example, plans on releasing a device with a larger screen than the
and a wireless broadband connection via the AT&T 3G
network. That e-reader will be aimed at the business market, with functionality
that will allow it to download and display Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and PDF
has also wrestled with the controversy erupting from its decision over the
summer to delete copies of George Orwell's "Animal Farm" and
"1984" from the e-readers' archived items library. In defending that
move, Amazon.com issued a statement on July 17 explaining that the books had
been pulled because their e-publisher did not hold the rights.
readers remained vocal about their displeasure, leading Bezos to offer a
personal apology on the Kindle site: "Our 'solution' to the problem was
stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles."
also had to settle a related lawsuit leveled against it by a Michigan student
and other plaintiff
, who argued that the deletion of
"1984" from their e-readers was illegal. As part of the settlement,
Amazon.com stated that it would retain the right to remotely delete works from
its users' libraries under specific circumstances, including a legal order to
delete or modify a file.
Kindle's biggest competition, though, could potentially come from Apple and its
much-rumored tablet PC, likely to be released sometime in early 2010. The
latest unconfirmed scuttlebutt has Apple approaching various media companies in
order to explore porting content onto such a device, which
could open the door to Apple selling digital books or other media through the
Apple's tablet PC and its related ecosystem are much-speculated and
little-confirmed, Amazon.com's price reduction could be an attempt to make a
$279 e-reader more appealing when eventually put head-to-head in the
digital-book space against a $700-$900 multitouch device.