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Amazon Wants To Give A Free Kindle To All Amazon Prime Subscribers (techcrunch.com)
65 points by edw519 on Feb 12, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 52 comments

I'm a Prime customer, and I love it. I buy way more on Amazon than I used to, and I find it very convenient. It pays for itself on Christmas shopping alone.

This could be a smart move. I've often thought about a Kindle, but never really wanted one bad enough to shell out for it (although I'm pretty sure I'll get the iPad). Dropping one in my lap, knowing that I spend a lot of money on Amazon, could be a very smart move for Amazon to make. Maybe I'll love the Kindle, use it a ton, buy a ton of books, and show all my friends.

So true on Prime for Christmas, they should really advertise that angle much more during the holidays for those averse to crowded malls.

I also love the fact that the 2-day shipping often comes in 1 day b/c of the efficiency of Amazon's warehouse/distribution network.

Prime really does pay for itself. I ordered enough on Amazon before getting prime that it was a no brainer. Amazon is also very generous about letting you share your prime subscription with family members.

I already read quite a few books on my iPhone(Kindle app, and Stanza) so I would probably end up paying for a Kindle in book purchases over the life of the device. Seems like a win-win.

"Amazon is also very generous about letting you share your prime subscription with family members."

Yes. I invented three step-brothers with whom I share my membership. Effective cost is $20/household/year.

Do the family members have to live in the same household as you for this to work (disregarding the ToS)?

No, I have my account with 4 other people at 3 different addresses, it works just fine. Keep in mind all of these people are in the same city, though...

[edit] Note for other post: you don't have to share actual accounts - you can invite people to share prime membership; they will use their own account to do their own shopping but still get the same perks.

Mine are spread out all over the country. Different last names too. They don't seem to care.

I have about 8 friends that use my Prime account. Only caveat is they all have to trust each other not to use someone else's stored CC info :P

This would be a great move.

I have never considered paying for Prime beyond the free trials they sometimes run. But if they gave me a free Kindle, I'd sign up for it. I also know that I'd end up dropping ten bucks a pop for book-after-book-after-book.

Amazon Prime is a great service on its face. If you buy from Amazon regularly, it pays for itself, if not in dollars than in convenience.

I've been on the fence about readers for a while now. I'm a programmer, but I have a degree in American literature. Most of the books I own were written over a century ago. Unfortunately, these books simply don't come in a Kindle edition often enough to justify the purchase of the reader. But if Amazon gave me the reader, it probably would lead me to buy more new titles and magazine subscriptions. And, of course, eventually the titles I want will be available in Kindle editions.

I guess the real question is how many additional sales would Amazon gain from someone like me + my likelihood of upgrading to the next version of the Kindle vs. the production cost of the Kindle. I bet the math makes sense over the long haul. It's not that different a calculus than I use when I buy Amazon Prime every year.

A lot of books that are out of copyright are available online for free in open formats that are readable on the Kindle. Project Gutenberg is full of classics that you can (and I do) read on the Kindle.

It was fairly clear to me that after it's "breaking news: Jason Calacanis has an iPad" stories and this nonsense that TechCrunch just makes stuff up to get views. Arrington is to Early Adopters what Ann Coulter is to conservatives. He figures out just what it is that you want it to hear-- truth or not-- and tells it to you.

I should state that not all conservatives fall for Ann Coulter's nonsense, just as not all early adopters fall for Arrington's nonsense either.

So Arrington is the neo-con of tech reporters?

Saying that Ann Coulter is a neo-con is like saying Bozo the Clown is an acclaimed stage performer. While her message is conservative themed, her tactic isn't to espouse conservatism, but rather to get people to read her column.

The same's to be said for Arrington. It's a problem that all journalism has: the facts and what's popular usually don't mix.

Actually, I believe that Bozo the Clown is a fellow alum of my alma mater.

Singular alumnus (masculine) or alumna (feminine), often abbreviated "alum" to avoid having to remember any of that :)

You flat out reversed his point. His whole point was that Coulter doesn't have an ideology she just makes up whatever she thinks people want to hear. It's funny how someone's obvious dislike for those who they disagree with can just shut off the "logical thinking" part of the brain.

As an Amazon Prime user, I really hope this happens.

    Free Kindle -> eBay/Craigslist -> cheaper iPad

Not to mention that just by giving it away, they are increasing the likelihood of price drops for the iPad.

Oh nice! If so, then I'm glad I signed up for Amazon Prime. I'm still getting an iPad, though :D

I see from other comments that this may not be true, but if it isn't, I'd advise that Amazon should start doing it as soon as they can. It would be an application of the "Gilette model" of sales -- sell the razor, or the printer, or the video-game console cheap, and make your money back on selling blades, cartridges, or cartridges respectively.

For a book-delivery platform like the Kindle, this strikes me as a natural model -- a user is likely to buy a large number of books over his lifetime, and the margin of profit on a $10 e-book makes the margin of profit on a music CD look humble.

There's also the point that the Kindle is not an obviously useful sort of device. Making it widely available will overcome customer reluctance to try it out it, ensuring that it either proves its worth and spreads quickly, or proves its worthlessness and fails quickly, and minimizes the amount of time that Amazon spends in new-product limbo either way.

The problem with the Gilette model is, Amazon is also losing money on the razor blades, it seems: http://www.publishersweekly.com/index.asp?layout=talkBackCom...

I guess their strategy must be more like Microsoft's: establish market power early and milk it for the big bux0rz later.

Kindle and Prime are both things I already kinda want, but haven't pulled the trigger on. I'd go for this in an instant.

I was sort of on the edge about renewing my Prime subscription AND about getting a Kindle, but if they gave me a free Kindle I'd be back on Prime (and ordering from Amazon again) in a second.

I just bought one but I wouldn't mind getting another one for free since I'm a prime subscriber. Then my wife and I wouldn't have to fight over the one we have.

This would be a good move by Amazon. The only way they are going to keep the iPad as the 2nd place e-reader is to either give away the kindle or at least drop the price to $99. Then when they release their color touch screen kindle they could charge $199 while still giving away the older model.

So, uh, I'm an Amazon Prime customer that has already bought a Kindle. What do I get?

Edit: also, why the pic of the old Kindle? Are they giving away leftovers of the first edition?

I will give you 50% of market value for your Kindle.

I'd say another Kindle - You'd likely give it away or sell it and Amazon would get another ebook customer.

Maybe the next version?

Interesting idea. I've had prime for a few years, and I'd probably buy a kindle if they gave me $100 off of one.

Great. I just need them to send me 2 or 3 so we don't all fight over it.

That's a brilliant rumour.

Considering that kindle customers do not own the books they buy, Amazon's kindle will be Free as free first dose of cocaine.

Just like with libraries?

I buy books for a few hours of enjoyment. After I've read them, they just sit on a shelf and collect dust. Because most people are like this, the Kindle is not a poor value proposition. Even if you were only allowed to read the book exactly once, it would still be a better value (in terms of hours of time spent per dollar spent) than many things, like seeing a movie.

Everyone hates DRM, but everyone knows that DRM only lasts a few years for a given industry. Eventually the publishers realize that DRM is being used to lock them into a distributor, and they hate that more than "piracy". It happened with music, and it's starting to happen to books.

When people start getting arrested for sharing books with their lovers, then you can link to "The Right To Read" and say "I told you so". In the mean time, consider DRM as a bootstrap that will eventually go away.

I mostly agree with you, but with one exception: I'm a bit of a history buff, and I'm not altogether looking forward to a future where all of the history texts are alterable, and nobody owns previous copies.

I wonder if this will increase the number of people that sha1 the books to see if it has been tampered. maybe have a distributed system that votes for the correct hash. Or you could have a canonical repository like the library of congress.

Or you could have a canonical repository like the Ministry of Truth.

Fixed that for you.

History texts for what? Past histories will remain in print form, and new revisions to them will still be published in journals and such. History from now on is going to be radically changed by the giant primary source called the Internet and its offspring. I think you're looking at it on too small a scale.

Not just like with libraries. Library books are free.

As an avid library goer, I'm tempted by the Kindle, but I don't actually want one. I get 95% of my books from the library, so for people like me, a Kindle is just a way to spend money more easily and more often.

Library books are free.

That's not even close to true. The actual case is just that the costs of library books are (almost) completely externalized.

I buy books to put them on my shelf so that other people can see how smart I am. Only half joking - my bookshelf does start a lot of conversations, and I often lend out books to friends. It's going to be a long time before I'm going to plunk down cash for electronic-only versions of books. I do however often choose technical books that come with a PDF version free over other books on the same subject (e.g., Manning Publications)

That's only the case for content purchased through the Kindle store. You're completely free to put content from other sources on the device, and Amazon actually goes to great lengths to make this as simple as possible: Beyond appearing as a USB mass storage device, every Kindle has a unique email address. Send a document to that address and it's instantly delivered over "whispernet" to the device.

That's nice of them but will anyone still be using this when the iPad drops??

I'd certainly use a free Kindle over a $500 iPad.

I'd use a $200 Kindle over a free iPad.

Yes. Have you missed the past few weeks of discussion on whether the iPad has a niche? The Kindle already has one. I don't have an iPhone, and I don't want yet another multipurpose device, but bigger. I have a Kindle because I want the e-ink screen.

For a bookreader, I think having an electronic paper display that Kindle has is pretty crucial.

All Amazon is doing is making people buy the iPad 2.0 or 3.0.

More like hoping they lock in to their platform and feel a need to stick with it after having invested in several eBooks.

People can still read on the iPad with the Kindle app.

How many MacBook Airs did this "story" cost?

Sorry, it was too easy.

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