Getting Ready To Bite On An E-Reader?

I’ve been looking at (wanting) a Kindle for a while. But, I’m cheap. And I know the prices are going to keep dropping. Besides, it’s not like I haven’t been reading just because I don’t have a Kindle yet. I just keep having to go to the library, reserve books online, pay late fees, etc. Several things have happened recently that have me (almost) ready to buy, but the sum of these things makes me think I should wait it out just a little bit longer.

There’s speculation that Amazon is going to have two Android powered tablets out by Christmas for under $500. That means they’ll be motivated to empty out some of their lower end Kindles between now and then. They’ve already started to do so with the $114 6″ Kindle with ads for a screen saver.

This seems like the best choice for me…if I was going to buy yesterday. I’m really wanting the e-ink display instead of the LCD the tablets will have, and it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a touch screen or not. I just want something easy to look at with long batter life. Also, I don’t care if it’s 3G or not. I’m home most of the time, and I’m sure I can load it up with plenty of stuff to keep me entertained in the event I’m away for a few days, so Wi-Fi connection is fine with me. The screen size is actually perfect. I currently use the Kindle app on my phone, and my two biggest complaints with it are that the screen size is small and the display. A bigger screen would be nicer to look at, but the 6″ screen is about right for lugging around the house and holding without being cumbersome.

Barnes & Noble announced its own 6″ Nook today, priced exactly the same as the 6″ ad-free Kindle. It’s not a Nook color; it’s black and white e-ink. But unlike the Kindle, it’s running Android 2.1 and has a full touch screen. It also features a two month batter life. Sounds like a nice little device. It’ s not the one I want to buy though…I want to see what kind of pressure this puts on Amazon to lower their price even further, especially considering what they have coming later this year.

For the kicker, there was a rumor a while back that Amazon was considering giving a free Kindle to all of its Prime customers. That’s what I hope actually happens. I’m all about free. Now would seem like the perfect time. I could imagine one scenario where they do this sooner rather than later as a “reward” for existing Prime customers. Another possibility would be to not only give current Prime customers a free Kindle, but also send one out to new customers around October/November. This would be a great way to get rid of existing inventory while putting the device in the hands of people who don’t yet have one to entice them to request/purchase the newer devices as gifts. Wouldn’t hurt to entice people to try out Prime right around Christmas and have their gifts shipped (and purchased) through Amazon.

I think the end game here is control of the market itself. Readers are eventually going to be available for next to nothing either way.

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