KindlesIt’s interesting to me how often people misunderstand the appeal of Amazon and its products. Over at Digital Book World today, Beth Bacon asked, “When will Kindle’s become free?” While it’s not a bad question—and I do think the day of the free Kindle (or another brand of e-reader) is coming—I think she missed an important point.

Consumers who think about their hardware purchases this way (do I want an e-reader, a tablet, or both?) are probably more likely to spring for a tablet with an Android, MacOS, or Windows OS if they can possibly afford it.

Those who are looking for a device to do nothing other than read books are probably going to choose a lower-priced e-reader, not the colorful, multi-featured Fire.

On the surface, it sounds like a reasonable conclusion. But what it misses is the love and loyalty people feel for Amazon in general and Kindles in specific. Remember my post last month with the picture of all the Kindles? I know people with multiple Fires and an iPad and/or other tablet.

Clearly not everyone thinks in terms of practicality.

I think the hypothesis is sound if you’re talking about Nooks. When it comes to Kindles, though, there is a certain hard-to-define luster that seems to make them defy logic. I believe a part of it is the fact that, rightly or wrongly, Fires are seen as easy to use and a good entry point for the novice tablet user.

I’m not one of those Kindle lovers, by the way. I really like my Touch, but I had no desire for a Fire. So I can’t say I understand it, but I do see the effects in various Kindle user groups.

Any Kindle lovers out there want to chime in and explain it to the rest of us?


  1. Some people just want a small, light reading device.
    No muss, no fuss.
    And the cheaper, the better.
    Tablets are a long way from being a true replacement for eink readers so there will continue to be a market for the things, even as a niche. And niche products are rarely given away free.
    As pointed out, we won’t see free Kindles any time soon because they have enough appeal and value on their own that their natural market will willingly pay for them.
    (Especially as long as free ebooks are as abundant and easy to get as they are.)

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