Last week, Amazon decided to drop the price of its Kindle e-reader to $299. Apparently, they’ve been making so much money on the thing that they were able to pass the savings on to the customer.
In writing for Examiner.com (shameless plug!), I’ve interviewed my share of publishing insiders who herald e-readers in general and Kindle in particular as saviors of an industry floundering because of an identity crisis and a bad economy. More than one insider has compared e-readers and other technological advancements to Gutenberg’s printing press, which, as you know, sounded the death knell to monks hunched over parchment in a scriptorium.
Though Sony makes an e-reader, Kindle has gotten the most ink since its first generation hit in 2007. After all, Oprah called Kindle one of her favorite things; we all know what a ringing endorsement from Oprah can do to pretty much anything. In February of this year, Amazon released Kindle 2 with a sleeker design, longer battery life, and more storage than its predecessor. Then in May, Amazon unleashed Kindle DX, or SuperKindle, on us.
Despite the audacity of Ope, though, no one I know has rushed out to buy either Kindle. At a price of $359 for Kindle and $489 for its supersized sibling, no one in my circle of friends is eager to part with that kind of cheddar. That may all change, though, with the $60 drop in the price of Kindle. My friend and author Karyn Langhorne, with two books available as Kindle editions, has plans that involve Kindle, her birthday, and her husband’s credit card.
I, on the other hand, am a chronic late adopter. I only recently got an iPod. And I’m not alone. The folks at Electronic Village are adopting a wait-and-see approach and soliciting input from others before they commit. The reason? Their love of going to the library and checking out books and DVDs for free.
Even though my latest novel, Triptych, is available as a Kindle edition, I’ll still hold off on investing in the reader itself for now… even with the price dip. Basically, I want to see if Kindle can bear the weight of a publishing industry’s expectations on its 1/3” thin, wireless, 10.2 oz shoulders. Like Public Enemy, I don’t believe the hype just yet.But that’s just me. What about you…?