Should Amazon Give Away Free Kindles?

06.24.10 7 years ago 5 Comments

With Apple selling a reported three million units in 80 days, it’s obvious the iPad lapped Amazon’s Kindle in the race to be the nation’s handheld reader of choice (2.5 million Kindles have sold…in the 31 months since introduction). But what if Amazon gave away Kindles and recouped profits through the sale of digital downloads? That’s the argument posed by Dennis Kneale, CNBC’s media and technology editor.

“The handheld razor is priced cheap—so they can sell you the high-profit blades. Many cell phones come free of charge, so long as you sign a two-year carrier contract. Amazon could do the same with the Kindle: Start a new book club, and give away the Kindle in exchange for buying a $20 book each month for two years.

Or team up with print-media companies that would subsidize the cost of making Kindles and give ’em away free as the new distribution platform for their newspapers and magazines. Another ally: big brands that could hand out the Kindle as part of their customer service—banks, retailers, bookstore chains, Wal-mart. [CNBC]

Maybe not the most compelling argument but it’s not illogical as it may sound. There’s virtually no way the Kindle can out-sexy Apple. Still, this could possibly be the way to bring more people in their direction since we all like the idea of free, even if it comes with a small price to pay on the backend.

Read the rest at CNBC.

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