Let's start with the bottom line: Amazon's announcements this morning were the most important in the gadget world since Apple announced the iPad on January 27, 2010.I believe that.
With the announcement of a $79 regular Kindle, $99 touch-enabled Kindle, and $199 Kindle Fire tablet, Amazon set itself up for a Christmas clash with Apple's iOS juggernaut. While many tablet contenders have come at Apple, few can throw as many punches as Amazon.That is an awesome idea.
Amazon can hit Apple high with the Kindle Fire, which is the first non-Apple tablet that will offer as integrated a media service as Apple's ecosystem does. And it even comes with a hard-to-believe-but-awesome-if-it-works feature that Apple doesn't have: cloud-enhanced web browsing. The Fire will supposedly offer better mobile browsing because it offloads the computationally intensive bits off to Amazon's cloud computing service.
Amazon can hit Apple low with the $79 Kindle. Because so many gadgets are sold to price-insensitive early adopters, we all tend to underestimate the effect that a sub-$100 price has. [...] For people who don't own an e-reading device, a device that is substantially below the $100 barrier may be just the move they need to make the switch to digital reading.I'm hardly the typical consumer, but I feel the need to get this out there anyway. A $79 reader is super cheap. We agree on that. But most e-books I'd want to read on it are still about $10, which is not cheap. Well, sure, it's cheap next to a hard-back, but how often do I rush out to get the hard-back? I read a lot, but I can only think of a couple of times in the last several years I've done that. (Given the choice between one book published recently, and 2.5 books published previously, I always go with more, older books.) And $10 is more expensive than a lot of paperbacks.
Plus most of the books I read I get for free from a library. (Like, 19 out of every 20.) The books I do buy fall into two categories. Category 1 is the books I get used, through Amazon, for about $4 a piece. An e-book is no substitute for that. Category 2 are the books I've already read but want as part of my collection, sitting solidly on my bookshelves. Again, an e-book is no substitute.
Again, I know I am not typical, so perhaps this a pointless excercise. I feel like I am swimming against the tide here. But I am so often left wondering why should I pay even $79 for the privelege of paying $10 for books that I had to say this.