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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Free eReaders on the horizon?

When will an eBook become more expensive than the gadget you read it on?

So asks Beth Bacon, in a blog post on Digital Book World

Amazon, as she comments, has recently slashed the price of Kindle Fire by 10%, saying that they have been able to pass on savings in production costs to the consumer.

But, as she goes on to say, the new price ($159) is still a good deposit on a tablet, such as an iPad, especially if you find one of the specials on iPad minis that are around right now.

I have both a Kindle Touch and an iPad mini, and though I had doubts at first about having an eReader that dings whenever an email comes in, interrupting the reading process, I am now a definite fan of the tablet. It might need recharging a lot more often, but it feels good, looks good, and is every bit as good (if not better) than the Kindle.

This was because of Amazon's generosity.  There is an app which I can download from their website that turns my iPad into a Kindle.  And it's free. I repeat, it cost nothing. And there is also a very easy process where every book I bought for my Kindle is copied onto my iPad. And again, it cost zilch.

So, as Beth Bacon remarks, why would anyone buy a dedicated eReader, if they could afford the gadget that does the same thing, but with bells and whistles as well?

As she concludes, at some point, the value of potential content purchases will exceed the amount it costs for Amazon to produce their e-readers. At that point, will the company to give away their e-readers free? If owning an e-reader leads to enough digital content purchases, in this environment of competition from more full-featured tablets from Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung, Amazon may find that giving away their Kindles for free is a smart business move.

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