Amazon may compete with Apple iPad by giving away free Kindles

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
As Amazon's e-book business continues to evolve in the wake of the Apple iPad announcement, a new rumor suggests the company is exploring the possibility of giving a Kindle reader to its best customers.



Michael Arrington of TechCrunch reported Friday that Amazon is considering a promotion that would give a free Kindle to subscribers of its Amazon Prime service. At a cost of $79 per year, Prime offers free two-day shipping on selected items, and one-day shipping for just $3.99.



"These are Amazon's very best customers -- the ones who tend to make multiple purchases per month," Arrington wrote. "And they are also likely to buy multiple books per month on their Kindle devices. If those users buy enough books, and Amazon gets the production costs of the Kindle down enough, Amazon can get Kindles into ?millions? of people?s hands without losing their shirt."



Citing a "reliable source," he said Amazon's goal is to find a way to put a Kindle in the hands of Prime subscribers without losing money on the deal. The company ran a promotion in January where they asked users to try the Kindle, and those who were not satisfied were given a full refund, but got to keep the hardware.



The moves are just another example of Amazon rethinking its Kindle platform following Apple's iPad announcement. The company recently purchased touch-screen maker Touchco, which it plans to incorporate into the Kindle's hardware division for a future version of the device.



Amazon has said it has sold millions of Kindles, but has not given an exact number. Still, the e-book market has proved to be of value to the online retailer: The company revealed last month that it sells six Kindle e-books for every 10 physical books.



The Kindle and large-screen Kindle DX are available in over 100 countries, and the Kindle iPhone application is available in Apple's App Store in over 60 countries. E-books can be synced between the Kindle reader, PC software, and Apple's iPhone and iPod touch. Kindle software is also forthcoming for the Mac and iPad.



But Apple hopes to counter Amazon with its recently announced iPad. At the product's unveiling, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs credited Amazon with pioneering the e-book market with the Kindle, but he said Apple intends to improve on that model. "We're going to stand on their shoulders and go a bit further," he said.



With a 9.7-inch screen and a starting price of $499, the iPad offers a vibrant, color screen suited for a variety of multimedia consumption, while Amazon's e-ink, black-and-white Kindle is best suited for reading books.



Apple will serve books for the iPad through its iBookstore, due to be a part of the iBooks application for iPad. The software features a 3D virtual bookshelf displaying a user's personal collection, and allows the purchase of new content from major publishers. Like the Kindle, it will offer content from the New York Times Bestsellers list.



The introduction of the iPad has driven publishers to force Amazon into higher prices for new hardcover bestsellers. While books are currently priced at $9.99 on the Kindle, that is expected to rise to between $12.99 and $14.99 by the time the iPad launches in March.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 97
    Desperation perhaps?
  • Reply 2 of 97
    Hmmm... give away the product for free... I guess that's one way to compete. Competitors to the iPhone have been doing it for a while with various BOGO schemes. Funny thing is it doesn't seem to be working.
  • Reply 3 of 97
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    Desperation perhaps?



    If they gave me a Kindle I might buy more books, but I'm not going to buy books to get a Kindle.



    But it doesn't matter, I'm getting an iPad.
  • Reply 4 of 97
    "Competing" isn't giving away free Kindles. Competing is offering a superior product for the price.



    Amazon doesn't have the resources to develop a tablet, so if they truly want to compete with e-readers, they'll have to make Kindle even better (color?) and cheaper for everyone. They already hold the title for cheap media prices, so at least they have that going for them...



    -Clive
  • Reply 5 of 97
    Amazon, just let me know where to sign-up for my free Kindle and I'll definitely be a buyer of a few e-books a month. That way both you the vendor and I the reader get to share the risk and the benefits of going down this path.
  • Reply 6 of 97
    As an Amazon Prime member, I wonder if I can get a free Kindle, sell it, and subsidize the price of the iPad I fully intend to purchase?
  • Reply 7 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    Desperation perhaps?



    No. Apple makes its money on hardware, its sells software to promote and sell its hardware. That isn't that case with many companies. Many are willing to give away the hardware in order to sell and make money off the software. Gaming consoles are a perfect example, in many cases the hardware is sold at a loss to get you to buy games at 60.00 where the real money is made.
  • Reply 8 of 97
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post


    As an Amazon Prime member, I wonder if I can get a free Kindle, sell it, and subsidize the price of the iPad I fully intend to purchase?



    Ditto. I should have tried that January deal...
  • Reply 9 of 97
    Amazon should sell it at low margins and recoup with an increase in eBook sales.



    Supporting ePub would also be a neat idea.
  • Reply 10 of 97
    That's like hoping a free scientific calculator would appeal to people more than a $99 iPod Touch. If you only care about dedicating lots of time to advanced equations and having a battery that lasts really long (plus the added benefit of solar-power) then, and only then, would the thought seem even remotely appealing.
  • Reply 11 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    As Amazon's e-book business continues to evolve in the wake of the Apple iPad announcement, a new rumor suggests the company is exploring the possibility of giving a Kindle reader to its best customers.



    Apple should do something similar with their AppleTV product; or at the very least, offer it for free to people who sign up for 12 months of that rumored $30/mo iTunes subscription service.
  • Reply 12 of 97
    i think someone once said price is an indicator of something...giving your product away is quite an indicator in this case (for the kindle) and not really competition, as it has been said...
  • Reply 13 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post


    Hmmm... give away the product for free... I guess that's one way to compete. Competitors to the iPhone have been doing it for a while with various BOGO schemes. Funny thing is it doesn't seem to be working.



    yeah. makes you wonder really



    if they are so willing to give away the device then is it really a money maker for them. Perhaps they would be better off trying to position their software/service onto other devices. They did a Kindle app for the Mac and the Iphone/touch and one assumes it will work on the ipad. So they would get book sales out of that. add perhaps the gift of a free book or several based on purchase history and they could lure their shoppers into making the leap. same with tv shows and movies on demand (which I hear they are doing with some titles)
  • Reply 14 of 97
    Giving them away to their already existing e-book customers ?

    So that these customers then can read two at the same time ?!
  • Reply 15 of 97
    Pick me! Pick me!
  • Reply 16 of 97
    I sense a paradigm shift in the ebook reader market.
  • Reply 17 of 97
    phizzphizz Posts: 142member
    Get ready for a flood of Kindles on eBay.
  • Reply 18 of 97
    If Amazon hasn't known all along that Apple would eventually bury the Kindle with some kind of multifunction tablet, then they're not nearly as smart as people give them credit for. Amazon has accomplished their primary goal, which was to jump-start the ebook industry. Now they have to move over, like it or not. The Kindle is hopelessly quaint compared to the iPad.
  • Reply 19 of 97
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,607member
    I am an Amazon Prime subscriber and don't currently own a Kindle. I welcome this news!!



    I'm not gonna turn down freebies
  • Reply 20 of 97
    If Amazon doesn't already have a name for this promotion, I suggest "Rekindle."



    Or maybe that's too honest.
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