Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Amazon answer to the free-Kindle? question More on $114 Kindle 3


Microsoftoffice2010forums.com reports that when asked if the Kindle would ever be free (do they ask this about any other electronic reader or tablet??)
' “It’s not possible.  The economics don’t work,” Jay Marine, a Kindle director said in an interview.  “At $114, we think it is the best deal for a consumer electronic.  We sell a lot of consumer electronics, so we should know it’s a good deal.”

What if it were tied to other offers, like Amazon Prime, which costs $79 a year and offers free two-day shipping and access to free streaming movies?

“I don’t know how to do it.  I would not get your hopes up,” he added. '

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette carries the report from the NY Times' Claire Cain Miller, and I'm referencing that one because the New York Times is limited in access for most these days ... ALTHOUGH (I'd forgotten) that clicking on a link to the NYT from a blog will allow you to read the article even if you've reached your max at NY Times for the month... but it DOES count against the first 20 in a month, so I'll forego that for now.

  Select paragraphs:
' By selling ads that will show up next to digital content, Amazon is laying further groundwork that could enable it to someday sell tablet computers that would compete with Apple and Google Android tablets.
. . .
"This is really about having a Kindle that's more affordable," said Jay Marine, director of Kindle at Amazon.
. . .
Readers will also be able to get discounts through their Kindles.  Amazon will open the offers to advertisers, but to start, the deals are all from its site, like $10 for a $20 Amazon.com gift card or 50 percent off a Roku streaming player from Amazon.  By entering the daily deal business, Amazon is competing with Groupon and with LivingSocial, the group-buying service in which it is an investor.  Mr. Marine said that Amazon's service was separate from LivingSocial's.
. . .
An Amazon tablet could tie together the seemingly disparate parts of the company's business, Mr. McQuivey said, including e-commerce, e-books, video and audio.

"I can so easily see them selling a tablet in the future at a dramatically reduced price," he said.  "To me, this is a way for them to test that out and to start talking to advertisers."

When asked whether the new Kindle was a move toward a tablet, Mr. Marine said, "I don't want to speculate."  He also declined to say when the Kindle would have a color or touch screen...
. . .
...Craig Bierley, director of advertising and promotions for General Motors's Buick division... Because reading books is an intimate experience, he said he hoped people might pay more attention to the ads.

"The Kindle for many people is really a centerpiece of their entertainment, so their level of engagement with the device, and hopefully with the advertisers on it, will be higher," Mr. Bierley said. . . .

Bobby Calder, chairman of the marketing department at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management... books are one of the last ad-free zones, and by showing ads on an e-reader, Amazon risks alienating some users, he said.

"There's been research that shows that if you put an ad in an environment where people are highly engaged, that kind of intrusiveness can really backfire," he said. '

Read the information I left out, at the Pittsburgh Gazette.

The next quote is an especially interesting one because it answers some questions I saw in the last day.
' People could buy the less expensive Kindle and then avoid the ads by turning off Wi-Fi.  Mr. Marine said Amazon did not think customers would do that because they would value the offers on the new Kindle, which is now available for order and expected to ship May 3.

"We think the response is going to be really positive because it doesn't touch the reading experience," he said. '

I noticed these quickly before looking very far.  Also, there've been quite a few comments to this blog re the impact of the announcement for the commenters, and it's interesting, varied feedback, so I responded to it all and some of you may be interested in reading the reactions in the comments area for that story.

I'll have more on this...

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   K3 Special, $114   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!


  1. I think this is a really interesting experiment and as long as i can buy an Ad free Kindle at a resonable price, i don't see the problem.

    I personally have always thought it was odd how disconnected the Kindle felt from the rest of the Amazon store. It was curious that it lacked a dedicated and optimized way to browse things other than books that amazon sells.

  2. Cameron,
    Right. No problem at this point - an opportunity to buy at less-$$ if you agree to see ads while getting alerts to actual good Amazon deals/offers - but some worry about it being a precursor to all future models being ad-supported.

    It's important that Amazon leave the pure-book form (some consider the Kindle itself, a 'book' they open, the Book of Many Books, sorta). The basic Kindle has made a rep as a personal space for just reading.

    Amazon Kindle advocates have argued that tablets are too distracting while the Kindle is not.
    I'd rather be distracted by entertainment than ads, so it's important to some of us that they plan to also keep the 'purer' form w/o charging an arm/leg for that, which may be one of the reasons for only a $25 difference with the WiFi-only option, possibly. But this will be a boon for those who wanted the lower pricing and might appreciate Amazon-deal alerts while not minding screensleeper-ads.

    As for browsing the entire Amazon store, they'd have to have optimized pages for everything, and e-Ink is just too slow for enjoying web pages with many images. I use the 3G for look up a LOT but mainly for text info (reviews, Wikipedia, mobile-optimized news pages...

    With an Amazon Tablet almost sure to come someday, you'll likely see the option of a wider connection with the store itself

  3. I think this is a proof of concept test for Amazon. Their real goal may be to launch a tablet device which is subsidized in price, but without a carrier contract. It certainly looks like Amazon is assembling all the pieces to launch an iPad competitor, something I have called the "kPad." I'd be interested in your thoughts on my prediction which I write about in my blog, Profit Perspectives... http://www.profitperspectives.com/2011/03/meet-amazon-kpad.html

  4. One reason why I won't miss the NYT huddled behind its paywall: "By selling ads that will show up next to digital content, Amazon is laying..."

    Poor fact-checking.

    Amazon has specifically said the ads wouldn't show up next to content (meaning inside books). They'll be a line on the book list page and they'l be the entire screensaver. As ads go, these are pretty soft. The lovely young lady in one of their sample ads is a major improvement over their current sketches of often dour-looking writers.

    I'm not sure this is true either: "' People could buy the less expensive Kindle and then avoid the ads by turning off Wi-Fi."

    We don't have one to test, but Amazon may have taken care of that by stockpiling some ads when you are connected, as when downloading a new book, for later use. And even if it hasn't, a fix wouldn't be that hard. After all, the Kindle has to show something as a screensaver. It might as well be an ad.

    My more serious question is illustrated by how far Apple is getting behind in upgrading iOS for the Verizon version of its iPhone. I wonder whether this ad-Kindle is running a slightly different version of the Kindle OS than its sibling. If so, the updates for it might be delayed or, near the end of product life, not come at all. Before sales start, Amazon should let us know if the differences are in the firmware or in the OS. There are few things in the tech world more frustrating than owning an orphaned gadget.

  5. Mike,
    "Next to content" is certainly true, though. You're splitting hairs, as it didn't say IN content.

    As you know, I'm not high on this as any 'deal' but it is not at all "poor fact checking" on the part of the NYT. A screensleeper is ALWAYS 'next' to content, since when you put down your reading for a few minutes, you then see the ad. That's not even 'next to' but something a Kindle owner will see if pausing a book but not closing it (VERY often the case with Kindle users).

    I don't think that's huge for the people who opt for the device though.

    And a real ad is part of your listing of book titles, on the Home page bottom screen. I show their image with the Visa ad at the bottom tho' it is of course also a 'special offer.' Again, no big thing if you have opted-in by buying that particular device and knew what you were getting and don't mind. Some find $25 savings worth it. I'd pay the add'l $25 to avoid it, but that's just me and they currently give the option and let's hope the difference in price won't be greater when wanting one with no ads.

    While you may find them 'soft' ads, others will have a different reaction, and that's why Amazon gives the option to get one w/o ads (at this point).

    You said you weren't sure a quote was true. The quote was from Jay Marine, an Amazon Kindle director. And he's right.
    A new ad doesn't appear unless you leave WiFi on -- they come from the servers.

    Only someone intensely anti-ad would just download an Amazon book, designated for a specific Kindle, to the computer, for moving it to that Kindle via USB cable though. He did say it wasn't likely people would use that method.

    The ad-Kindle would have different firmware that can be changed as needed...

  6. I am absolutely devoted to the idea of the Kindle as an ad free space. I also think the wireless is an important feature, because wi-fi is not always available. Why would anyone want something that is an inferior version of what I have, the wi fi with wireless, even if it's a little bit cheaper? And I consider ads as less, not more. Look at television. Look at the Internet. What a mess.
    As well, I do not like touch screens and the way people are always pecking and swiping away at them. I like the solid feel of the Kindle keyboard. So why would I want a touch screen on my Kindle?
    For me, the Kindle 3 with wi-fi and wireless is the perfect book reading device. Don't change a thing for me. That's my motto.

  7. Hattie,
    Your preferences are similar to mine. But then this is obviously meant for others, but we also have to hope they keep offering the alternatives for those like us.

    One correction -- both WiFi and 3G are types of 'wireless.' I have an entry on that.

    I'd say that most people buying Kindles -are- buying the less-expensive WiFi-only model because they feel $50 is 'too much' for osmething they don't envision needing. I'd add that they've no idea what they're shorting themselves on, but others don't use the device the way we do.

    Some have even felt WiFi is just in the home! But some really don't plan to use that feature outside the home.
    I'm just one who uses it when I'm away from home, a lot. The freedom of doing that just about anywhere is huge for me. As I've said, on a bus, in an office waiting somewhere, at the beach. It's still like magic for me, and with mainly-text web-look-ups available and pretty fast for free, it's often a Godsend.

  8. Thanks for your reply. I have been following A Kindle World Blog ever since I got my Kindle 2 and find it very useful.

  9. Hattie,
    Really appreciate your feedback and your support!

  10. I would consider getting one of these if I didn't already have what I need to read. I'm quite certain I could easily ignore ads without animation, color, or gratuitous nudity, and simply enjoy the savings of $25 up front and the prospect of 'exclusive deals' thereafter. I wouldn't consider it 'inferior' in any way. I used to install ad-blocker browser plugins but my brain now does the same work effortlessly.

    Note that Amazon could have (and still could) make this an 'opt in' for existing Kindle owners. But I think they need to evaluate the results of this experiment first.

    I see this as a way to maintain interest in the Kindle platform, as ereader prices continue to go down, and as Amazon puts the final touches on its Android tablet or Mirasol-equipped Kindle or whatever they are working on.

  11. Tom,
    Thanks for your thinking here.
    Re any opt-in on other ad-free Kindles, people would want to opt-out when they want but that would involve another firmware up/down/grade and mucho support labor.
    So they'd have to have a time thing on it if they did it.

  12. Opt-in opt-out could all be done with the same firmware (and for all we know, maybe it is or will be). The feature could be turned on and off by some handshake between Kindle and Amazon's servers (noting that wireless connection fails if Amazon's servers cannot be contacted - you cannot for example connect to an isolated wi-fi network). I would argue that is the 'smart' way to do it since it keeps the code from branching.
    I guess we'll find out when the new Kindle SKU ships, and perhaps more definitively when there is a K3 update.


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the blogger.com "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the 'blogger.com' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]