Seems like a safe bet to me…

Over at Slate, Farhad Majoo is predicting the US$99 Kindle – with a consequential dramatic uptake in ebook reading:

I rarely make predictions about the tech business, but here goes: Before the holidays, Amazon will cut the price of the Wi-Fi Kindle to $99, and the 3G version will go for $150 or less. Amazon will do so, I think, not only to sell a lot of Kindles but also to cement its online store as the iTunes for books—the dominant force in the publishing business for the foreseeable future.

I think that’s right, and the e-book reader will for all intents and purposes become a free device, thrown in (for example) when you buy a dozen titles. You only have to track (for example) ipod prices over the last five years to see the rapid downward trend – and with ipods, they’ve managed to increase features (colour screens, huge increases in functionality) whilst simultaneously dropping prices. If people really do want ebook readers that only do black and white ebooks, then there’s no reason why a bare-bones featureless e-ink reader shouldn’t be the equivalent of the Gillette razor.


1 comment so far

  1. Floo on

    Two thoughts:
    1. Pay-per-view will be the model for ALL media in the future. I firmly belive this after witnessing the uptake of gaming boxes and satellite television in UK, once the hardware was practically given away to consumers. Somehow they didn’t notice how much more they then had to pay for the content. I think the black and white, featureless ebooks you refer to, may end up in the public libraries!

    2. If the publishing houses are smart, they will expand their brands to encompass other forms of media, because this is what newspapers have been doing, to ensure they stay relevant in the digital age – or – they buy the distribution pipe (e-reader) and the content.

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