The coverage over the release of the Kindle 2 the other day was done up in the traditional techno-geek fashion the Engadgets and Gizmodos of the world are used to providing for other new gadgets like iPods et al. Amazon too is trying to see its e-reader as the next big tech thing to simplify your life with 16 greys on the screen to save your eyes. At $349 to buy the thing and $9.99 a book on top of that, the economies of scale don’t make sense.
Let’s say the Kindle 2 lasts you three years like any good iPod or laptop does before it breaks, runs out of warranty or is outdated. Let’s also say a new book is $15 on average. That will take into account a $9.99 paperback and a $25-$30 new hardcover after discounts. The cost of the Kindle 2 is then equal to about 23 new books. However, you’d still have to buy those $9.99 e-versions. So you’re essentially paying an extra $230 for the electronic versions and the convenience of going paperless.
Now, let’s disregard the fact that the convenience of books is often that you can take them places you wouldn’t an expensive gadget. I’m talking an airplane during that “no electronics allowed” timeframe, what did you think I meant? The crapper? Nah, dads are used to taking their iPhones into the throne room, that’s no big deal.
So Amazon is basically stuck with $230 premium over 3 years (if you’re a light reader of seven-plus books a year, I would think Kindle buyers would be heavier readers). Why on earth would you pay a premium then for something not as versatile as a pulp and epoxy book?
To save the earth stupid!
23 books could be 23 pounds of paper products that while they decompose quickly, cost the lives of trees. If you’re already selling the product to presumably educated, or at least well-read, consumers the green factor could be the tipping point. The other would be for those like us who live in the city and just stack all our old books on shelves and never, ever read them again. Of course, we could share them with friends…damn another problem with this thing.