Back in October 2009, blogger John Walkenbach noticed that the Kindle price — currently $139 — was falling steadily. By June 2010 this rate was so consistent that he projected that by November 2011 the Kindle price should be $0. Last summer, author Kevin Kelly asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about this projection. According to Kelly, Bezos “merely smiled and said, ‘Oh, you noticed that!’ And then smiled again.” In a way, Amazon has already been giving away Kindles for awhile — in the form of the free Kindle smartphone, tablet, and computer apps. Right now, about 6 million U.S. adults own e-readers — but this field is getting much more crowded. According to recent research from Changewave, Kindle currently holds 47% of the e-reader market. Apple’s iPad (which is much more than an e-reader, so I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison) holds only 32% of this market. Sony’s Reader, at 5%, is just barely leading the Barnes & Noble Nook, at 4%. Plus, Google recently acquired eBook Technologies, Inc., so it’ll be interesting to see what that yields on the e-reader front. The Kindle’s core business model has always been to sell books, not devices. So a free Kindle seems like a potentially savvy business move.
It isn’t “if”. If is “When”.