Earlier today, Barnes & Noble announced a new WiFi-only Nook eReader at $149, and that it was slashing the price of its 3G version to $199. Amazon had to answer. And it just did.
The new price of the Kindle is a svelte $189 — down from $259. Yes, it just happens to be $10 cheaper than the 3G version of the Nook (all Kindles come with 3G connectivity built-in). It’s also now more than $300 cheaper than the cheapest iPad.
In the release, Amazon plays up the fact that it can be read in bright sunlight thanks to its e-ink screen, and is just 10.2 ounces. These are both shots at the iPad, which had a backlit screen (making it hard to read in sunlight), and, at 1.5 pounds, is significantly heavier than the Kindle. Also played up is the fact that the Kindle Store includes access to over 600,000 books — including 109 of 112 of the New York Times bestsellers. This is a shot at both the Nook and iPad. Nook claims to have more eBooks (over a million), but apparently has fewer NYT best-selling titles. Meanwhile, Apple’s iBook store has far fewer titles than either.
So is this enough to keep the Kindle humming along? Perhaps. The $189 is attractive. When I bought the Kindle last year, it was nearly $200 more ($359), which was way too expensive for the average consumer, but I still enjoyed the device. The price cut to $299 made it a little better. And the cut to $259, better still.
But was the pre-iPad world. Thinking about the Kindle at $359 now compared to the iPad at $499 is laughable. Yes, the Kindle is easier on the eyes thanks to e-ink, but the iPad can do about a thousand more things (and that might be an understatement) on top of its role as an eReader.
Amazon has yet to add a color screen or a touch screen to device, and while they’re supposedly working on ideas for both, it will likely be a while before they can do either. So that leaves them one choice: slash the price. Making it $10 cheaper than the Nook makes it an obvious choice over the Barnes and Noble device, but people looking at the iPad will still likely be a bit torn. If Amazon really wanted to go for the kill, they’d make the thing $99 — something which I bet they do sometime in the next year.
Find the full release below:
SEATTLE—June 21, 2010—Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced that Amazon Kindle, the best e-reader on the market (see this recent press release from the world’s leading consumer reporting organization—http://pressroom.consumerreports.org/pressroom/2010/06/amazons-kindle-tops-cr-ebook-reader-ratings.html), is now only $189, down from $259. Kindle is the 3G wireless portable reader that allows you to think of a book and be reading in 60 seconds, from wherever you happen to be. Easy to read even in bright sunlight, the 10.2 ounce Kindle is light enough for one-handed reading. Even though it’s a 3G wireless device, Kindle has no monthly fees or annual contracts. The Kindle Store includes over 600,000 books and the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read, including 109 of 112 New York Times Bestsellers and New Releases from $9.99. In addition, over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are available to read on Kindle. Since its release, Kindle has been the #1 bestselling product across the millions of items sold on Amazon. Kindle is in stock and available for immediate shipment at the new lower price of $189. Learn more at http://www.amazon.com/kindle.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Kindle and Kindle DX are the revolutionary portable readers that wirelessly download books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and personal documents to a crisp, high-resolution electronic ink display that looks and reads like real paper. Kindle and Kindle DX utilize the same 3G wireless technology as advanced cell phones, so users never need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot. Kindle is the #1 bestselling product across the millions of items sold on Amazon.
Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including http://www.amazon.com, http://www.amazon.co.uk, http://www.amazon.de, http://www.amazon.co.jp, http://www.amazon.fr, http://www.amazon.ca, and http://www.amazon.cn. As used herein, “Amazon.com,” “we,” “our” and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management’s expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.