What Does Amazon's Kindle Price Cut Say About Sales?8:42 PM EST Wed. Jul. 08, 2009
Amazon's Kindle 2 is cheaper now, as Amazon Wednesday cut the price of its flagship e-reading product to $299 from $359. The move is significant for Amazon, which has sold Kindle at $359 since the first version of the device debuted nearly two years ago. But just how significant? Is there anything to glean from Amazon's choice to cut the price of Kindle for the first time, well, ever?
Maybe not: Price cuts aren't exactly a new technique in the supply-and-demand dynamics of consumer electronics. But seeing as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his team haven't exactly been forthcoming about Kindle sales numbers, there's plenty of room to speculate on just how well Amazon's Kindles are selling now that the initial hype has subsided and Amazon faces Kindle competition from Google, Apple and just about everyone else with even a fleeting interest in the e-book market.
By lowering the price, Amazon is in effect responding to one of the biggest criticisms leveled at Kindle -- i.e., that as a dedicated e-reading device, it's too darned expensive for both a recession economy and for how comparatively little it does. The new price point of $299, it's worth noting, also makes the Kindle $10 cheaper than the Sony Reader, still the Kindle's most apparent competition in e-reading devices.
Even though the current Kindle will eventually find itself obsolete when multipurpose devices that can also provide a similar e-reading experience muscle it out of the territory, it's still a product on the up-and-up, and Amazon made a big deal of how the first two batches of Kindle DX both sold out in a matter of days in June. (Kindle DX, the large-screen version of the Kindle that debuted in May and started shipping in June, is still priced at $489.)
But with the Kindle and Kindle DX headlines gone from the front pages of tech blogs and news organizations and not quite top-of-mind for gadget gabbers anymore, it's clear that the Kindle has lost some of its spark. There's no reason to doubt Bezos' suggestion that Kindles are selling briskly, but there's no reason to believe it, either.
Amazon didn't return a Channelweb.com request for comment, but an Amazon spokesman told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday that "we've been able to increase the volume of Kindles we're manufacturing and decrease the cost of doing so."
Fair enough, Amazon, but until some solid Kindle sales data makes its way across our desk, we can't be convinced your Kindle sales are as gangbusters as you suggest.