In January Amazon offered select customers a free Kindle of sorts – they had to pay for it, but if they didn’t like it they could get a full refund and keep the device. It turns out that was just a test run for a much more ambitious program. A reliable source tells us Amazon wants to give a free Kindle to every Amazon Prime subscriber.
Just as soon as they can work out how to do it without losing money.
Amazon Prime is a subscription product that gives customers free two day shipping on everything they buy from Amazon. The current fee is $79/year.
These are Amazon’s very best customers – the ones who tend to make multiple purchases per month. 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. At least when the goal is to break even or better over the course of a couple of years, the expected lifetime of a Kindle.