There are many months until X-mas, but Santa already appears to be rooting for Amazon this holiday season. Although a risky gambit, he rarely leaves things purely to chance, so he’s making sure that the odds are looking pretty stacked in the Kindle’s favor.
Amazon is expected to lower the price of its Kindle to under $100 by Christmas. “And why not?” Santa asks. The digitization of Amazon has proven that the digital publishing industry is a marketable endeavor. Making the Kindle even more affordable to consumers means getting the millions of eBooks (which surpassed print book sales on Amazon.com this year) into the hands of more people.
Graeme McMillan of Techland gives us some numbers as evidence: “Kindle sales for 2011 are currently at 17.5 million, with “over 310 million” eBooks sold in the same period for a combined revenue of $3.8 billion, or 8% of Amazon’s total revenue for the year.” The Kindle was the first big competitor in the eReader market and the first to have eBooks outsell print. The only thing missing is the price.
Currently, the most affordable eReader (although, more of a bare bones “base” device) is the Kobo at $99. The Kindle follows in close second: a $114 eReader, with advertisements. The new Nook Touch costs $139. Lowering the Kindle’s price to under $100 would put Amazon ahead of its arch-nemesis, Barnes & Noble.
Being even more cost-effective would allow Amazon to reveal its new tablet device in style. McMillan says, “Lowering the base Kindle price to under $100 is expected to improve sales because it brings the device into the realm of a potential ‘impulse buy,’ especially during the Holiday season.”
If the Kindle were to become the go-to eReader for consumers, the sales would allow Amazon to run into the tablet cantina with guns blazing against Apple and its powerful iPad. That has become the main goal of many e reader developers: a chance to break into the growing tablet market and compete for the iPad’s throne.