Not long ago there was a rumor going around that Amazon would soon start offering FREE Kindles to their Prime program customers. I didn’t think it was likely to be free but it’s not a bad idea. If Amazon looked through their databases and picked out their very best customers and gave them a free Kindle to boost ebook sales it would make a lot of sense. Considering that Amazon probably makes very little or absolutely no profit on each Kindle a mass give away program would be very unlikely and wouldn’t make a ton of sense.
Well, Amazon did something a few days ago to bring down the price of Kindle and something I’m sure they were hoping would boost the number of units out there and boost ebook sales. Too bad they didn’t do it right. Amazon will start selling an Ad-Supported unit.
Their website says:
Special offers and sponsored screensavers display on the Kindle screensaver and on the bottom of the home screen—they don’t interrupt reading.
Okay, ads to support a lower cost unit which would drive more sales to people who weren’t ready to jump into the price point and thereby drive more ebook sales. Sounds like a good move, right?
How much of a massive discount are you going to give me to be a captive audience to your ad sales program? $100?
Hold on to your hats: $25.00
I kid you not: TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS. That’s it. Yes indeed, a massive discount from $139.00 to $114.00!
Okay, okay. Twenty-five bucks is twenty-five bucks but it’s not going to drive a massive number of people to buy a Kindle and it’s not going to create demand like someone obviously thinks it might.
If I was going to buy a Kindle I’d pay the extra $25.00 and get it without ads.
I like the Kindle device, I’m a huge fan of e-ink and Amazon has done all of us a massive favor in supporting it. I have a lot of friends who LOVE it. My issue with the Kindle device is that it’s a (as the great Alton Brown would say) ‘Uni-Tasker’. Read ebooks, PDFs and listen to Audiobooks. If I’m going to drop money on a reader I’m going to look the Color Nook for which Barnes & Nobel have already said they are going to allow apps onto or go for the big boy, an iPad.
Ads on your Kindle for $25.00 isn’t going to drive sales that much, it’s not going to do the massive adoption curve they want and it’s not worth it. This is a massive fail for Amazon.
Why do it? Is this a testbed to see how people react to the idea and then do a much more intrusive Ad-supported unit for a higher discount? Maybe.
For now this idea is a failure in my eyes. Amazon should have thought a bit longer on this idea.