Speculation has been rampant over the weekend that Amazon will be giving out free Kindles to its customers beginning in November 2011. The excitement in the tech world has been building as sources such as The Boston Globe, PC World, Huffington Post and others have reported on this story.
The stories are based on a blog post by The Technium, written by the co-founder of Wired, Kevin Kelly, who charted the price drop of the Kindle over the years. Continuing the pattern of price reduction, Kelly concluded that the Kindle should be free by November 2011.
But is the past a true indicator of the future? Kelly thinks so and backs it up by reporting his discussion with Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. When Kelly explained his theory to Bezos and how it pointed to the Kindle being free beginning November 2011, the response from Bezos was that he smiled “and said, ‘Oh, you noticed that!’ And then smiled again.”
Definite proof? Certainly not, but now Amazon is in a tricky spot. What could happen?
- The speculation is untrue and Amazon denies that it will give Kindles away for free.
- The speculation is true but Amazon remains silent and the sale of Kindles (and Kindle books) drops until Amazon is forced to confirm that it will be giving away the devices. Amazon then might have to move the free Kindle program to a date earlier than November.
- The speculation is true and Amazon confirms its free Kindle program right away. Again, Amazon might have to move up the launch date of the program.
- Amazon remains silent and people forget about the speculation.
Kelly’s theory seems especially plausible if Amazon’s plans were to give the Kindle free to members of Amazon Prime. The free Kindle program would align with the added benefit recently given by Amazon to its Prime customers: free streaming movies and TV shows. Amazon giving a free Kindle to its Prime members would similarly add value. The distribution of free Kindles would also spur more sales of Kindle books which are very profitable for Amazon.
Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but if you’re thinking of buying a Kindle within the next few weeks, it might make sense to hold off to see what Amazon’s reaction to this news is.
Would you want a Kindle if you could get one for free? Would a free Kindle tempt you to become an Amazon Prime member? Is there no way you would ever want an eReader, even if you got one as a freebie? Let us know in the Comments section.
*Image by The Technium
**Photo by Frantisek Fuka