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Jeff Bezos Calls My Bluff With $79 Kindle

In a post I wrote last summer, Amazon Needs To Show Me A $99 Kindle, I took Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to task for pricing his flagship proprietary product too high. I couldn’t understand why they were willing to practically give away their ebooks when so much of their book business depended on the number of Kindle users. With yesterday’s announcement of new Kindle’s for as little as $79, it looks like Amazon finally came to its senses.

“$99 is my mental limit for impulse purchases—for things that are more convenience than necessity, more form than function. Which is why Amazon needs to drop the price of its Kindle to $99.”

“But this $99 threshold is pretty powerful. I never even considered owning an IPhone until recently, when—you guessed it, Wal-Mart started offering the discontinued model for $99. Show me a $99 Kindle, Mr. Bezos, and you’ll get me and a few million more customers to reach for our wallets.”

Amazon Needs To Show Me A $99 Kindle  posted July 10, 2010

My fellow Big Thinker, Kirsten Winkler, is excited about the possibilities of the Kindle Fire, the new Swiss Army knife tablet version of the ubiquitous e-reader with all the bells and whistles that runs on an Android platform. I am perched at the other end of the spectrum, where a lot of us who like our reading experience to be as easy and as cheap as possible reside.

“The exclusivity of an ereader is now dead.  And we all should be cheering that fact.  When a product is exclusive, meaning it’s new and fancy, it means it’s expensive.  It puts a certain group of consumers in line and another group shrugging their shoulders not caring…

…Some may not understand ebooks, nor get the appeal.  Well, for $79, they can get a Kindle and understand the appeal.  That price point is MONSTEROUS.  Why?  Because the average new release hardcover fiction novel is $30.  So for a little under 3 hardcover books, you could own a device that holds thousands of books!”

Jim Bronyaur, The Blog

The media is consumed with the horse race aspect of the whole thing—whether or not these new products, especially the Kindle Fire, will reduce Apple’s dominance of the tablet market. But as Jim Bronyaur points out, it is the consumer who wins big with the dramatic price reduction of Amazon’s entry level e-reader.  

Me? I really don’t need another electronic gadget. I already have Amazon Kindle for PC on my laptop and my desktop. But there’s no denying that I have always wanted a Kindle I could hold in my hand. The only thing I don’t know yet is whether I’m going to kick in the extra $30 it costs to get a version of the Kindle that doesn’t have sponsor messages on the screensaver, which would be a $109 purchase price, or stick to my guns and buy the cheapest Kindle they offer.  


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