Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos said he would revolutionize the publishing industry with his e-book reader Kindle and he’s keeping his word. The electronic reading gadget is going global.
Amazon announced yesterday evening that it would soon begin selling a new version of the Kindle that can wirelessly download books both in the United States as well as in more than 100 other countries.
The new Kindle is physically identical to Amazon’s current Kindle, with its slender profile, six-inch black-and-gray screen and angular keyboard. The main difference: it will use the wireless networks of AT&T and its international roaming partners, instead of Amazon’s existing wireless partner for the Kindle, Sprint. Sprint’s network is incompatible with most mobile networks outside of North America. The new Kindle will sell for $279. It begins shipping on Oct. 19th.
In addition, Amazon also announced a price cut for the United States-only Kindle, which will continue to be sold alongside the new global Kindle. The domestic Kindle is now $259, down from $299. Amazon previously dropped the price in July, from $359, to stimulate demand and to match the prices of rivals like Sony, whose least expensive e-reader now costs $199. Amazon also sells the larger-screen Kindle DX for $489.
Though exact sales numbers are hard to come by, it appears electronic reading devices are having a breakout year. In a report being released on Wednesday by Forrester, the research firm revised its prediction for the industry, saying that three million e-reading devices would be sold in 2009, up from its previous estimate of two million.
Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps thinks that e-reader 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.”
Even if the Kindle is marketed in Panama, I would have a hard time coughing $279 for an electronic book reader. At this price, I’d rather buy physical books at a local bookstore. Plus, color is still missing which means a lot to me. Any comments? Good Day.