Amazon cuts Kindle price, adds global version

Oct 07, 2009 By RACHEL METZ , AP Technology Writer
Kindle DX

(AP) -- Amazon.com Inc. is cutting the price of its Kindle electronic-book reader yet again and launching an international version, in hopes of spurring more sales and keeping it ahead of a growing field of competitors.

With Wednesday's $40 reduction on the Kindle, the device now costs $259. It debuted in 2007 at $399 and started this year at $359, before another price cut in July.

In an interview, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the company can now afford to reduce the price because of the increased number of Kindles the company is making - and selling.

Bezos called it Amazon's best-selling product, but Amazon has not disclosed sales figures for the Kindle, which has a 6-inch screen that displays shades of gray, room to store 1,500 books and the ability to download books wirelessly.

The price reduction also shows Amazon is trying to maintain a lead in the nascent e-reader market as the field gets more crowded.

According to a report being released Wednesday by Forrester Research, e-reader sales will total an estimated 3 million this year, with Amazon selling 60 percent of them and Sony Corp. 35 percent. offers a $199 "Pocket Edition" e-reader and larger $299 model, and in December it will offer a $399 model that can wirelessly download books rather than needing a connection to a computer.

Lesser-known companies are moving in, too. IREX Technologies plans to release a wireless-enabled $400 e-reader this fall, and Plastic Logic Ltd. intends to sell one with wireless capabilities as well.

According to the Association of American Publishers, accounted for just 1.6 percent of all book sales in the first half of the year. But the market is growing fast. E-book sales totaled $81.5 million in the first half, up from $29.8 million in the first six months of 2008.

And Bezos said Amazon sells 48 Kindle copies for every 100 physical copies of books that it offers in both formats. Five months ago it was selling 35 Kindle copies per 100 physical versions.

Bezos said that increase is happening faster than he expected.

"I think that ultimately we will sell more books in Kindle editions than we do in physical editions," Bezos said in the interview, which was held in the Cupertino offices of Lab126, the Amazon subsidiary that developed the Kindle.

In hopes of stimulating even more growth, Amazon also will start selling a $279 version of the Kindle that will work in 100 countries and be sold to readers outside the U.S. This Kindle will begin shipping on Monday in such countries as Australia, Japan, India and Germany.

The current Kindle can wirelessly download content in the U.S. over Sprint Nextel Corp.'s network, but outside the country you must connect it to a computer with a USB cable to add content. The international version will be able to wirelessly download content over AT&T's network around the world.

Seattle-based Amazon also sells a larger version of the , the DX, which was released this past spring and is geared toward textbook and periodical reading. It costs $489.

Having sub-$299 price tags on the U.S. and international Kindles could help Amazon this holiday season - a period that the National Retail Federation is expecting to be sluggish. The trade group forecast this week that retail sales in November and December combined will fall 1 percent from last year.

Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps thinks that prices need to come down even more if the devices are going to become mainstream products, however. She suggested $99 as a price that would be much more likely to lure consumers.

She said people "have somewhat unrealistic expectations of how much consumer electronics in general, and e-readers in particular, should be."

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Standalone wireless info display device an easy fit

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sony plans a Kindle rival with wireless downloads

Aug 25, 2009

(AP) -- Sony plans to offer an e-book reader with the ability to wirelessly download books. That adopts a key feature of the Kindle from Amazon.com and enhances the competition in a small but fast-growing ...

Color Kindle 'multiple' years away: Amazon CEO

May 28, 2009

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said Thursday that the online retail giant may never reveal sales figures for the Kindle and a color version of the electronic reader is "multiple" years away.

Amazon offers to replace Orwell books on Kindles

Sep 04, 2009

(AP) -- Amazon.com Inc. is offering free books or $30 to Kindle customers whose copies of the George Orwell novels "1984" and "Animal Farm" were deleted from their electronic reading devices in July.

Recommended for you

Standalone wireless info display device an easy fit

20 hours ago

A Latvian team has come up with a good-looking WiFi display device, connecting to the Internet using WiFi, which runs on a high-capacity built-in battery and tracks what's important to you. This is a standalone ...

Technology improves avalanche gear for backcountry skiers

22 hours ago

As outdoor recreation companies increasingly cater to skiers and snowboarders who like to venture beyond the groomed slopes at ski resorts and tackle backcountry terrain, they've put a special emphasis on gear and equipment ...

Your future office desk may remind you, hey, to move it

Jan 23, 2015

Workers in all industries know by now that having a "desk" job might have its perks but frequent exercise is not one of them. Ample warnings from health experts have been headlined in the press reminding ...

Hands-on with Microsoft's hologram device

Jan 23, 2015

Microsoft didn't use skydivers or stunt cyclists to introduce what it hopes will be the next big leap in computing technology. Instead, with its new HoloLens headset, the company is offering real-world examples ...

Review: New TV tech focuses on better picture

Jan 22, 2015

It's taken them a while to get there, but TV makers now seem to think that the way to improve the boob tube - and sell more sets at higher prices - is by having it display a better-looking picture.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

lengould100
not rated yet Oct 07, 2009
I recommend prospective purchasers ignore the costly wireless download option, and make sure any e-book they buy can access a) books now being sold in .pdf format and b) the million+ free books being made available on the net by the Gutenberg Project, and others, conveniently.

(I have a Sony 505 and love it).

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.