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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kindle Likely to Flame Out Quickly

Pity the poor e-book. In theory reading a tome digital makes all sense, but the code for selling success has been harder to crack than 256-bit encryption. Amazon's Kindle e-book reader will likely to do nothing to improve the fate of e-books, which will go down in history as a solution looking for a problem.

The $400 e-book reader is too costly and too limited in function. Even if you are paying $15 less per title for a best-seller, that's more than 28 book purchases before you break even in the cost of the device.

According Steven Hartley, senior analyst at Ovum

It is big (467cc); heavy (292g); expensive ($100 more than the Sony Reader); and has a black and white display (albeit from E-Ink, manufacturer of the Sony Reader display). Surely users could take a paperback and a mobile internet enabled device to get the same or greater experience (certainly lighter!) for less?

Charging to read newspapers and blogs as well as for email (about 10 cents each!) is also the exact opposite way the industry is going, as well as the business model that should have been chosen.

This device could have worked if it sold for less than $200 and included free online subscriptions (supported by advertising). The Kindle should be a showcase for the power of Sprint's fast wireless data network; instead it's a pay as you go service with high upfront costs.

While making the Kindle PC-independent is cool, are their really that many people who want to buy an e-book as an impulse purchase? If you want to buy a book immediately, their are plenty of bookstores at the airport to do so. And who really wants another electronic device to carry around?

As much as I'm a book and tree lover, the total audience of affluent and avid book readers could probably fit into a Broadway theater. Sorry Kindle, you're not going to make it.

By John Gartner at 09:22 AM | Comments (3)

(3) Thoughts on Kindle Likely to Flame Out Quickly

Umm...How'd this prediction turn out?

Comments by Kindle User : Monday, April 06, 2009 at 12:06 AM

Exactly what the other commenter said. This article was written in late-2007.

Moore's Law seems to have dropped the price of Kindle to $129 and it's only about 3 years later!

People say the Kindle may become like mobile phones in the sense that it can be $0 upfront on a contract or something similar.

Amazon are probably making only a small profit (or maybe a small loss) on each Kindle sold, but the marginal cost of each extra book sold is virtually $0 to Amazon, since a book is only a few megabytes but is sold for a high price in the US.

At least you were right that once the Kindle is less than $200 US it would succeed, which it did.

Comments by Anonymous : Monday, February 14, 2011 at 09:36 PM

Thanks to the low price introduction of the Apple iPad at $499, the overpriced Kindle had to slash its price. Later, with competition from the B+N Nook, it had to go down to where it is now.

Comments by veggiedude : Friday, June 17, 2011 at 09:43 PM

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