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Kindle: People Know About It, People Want It

to-scale-turing-sm._V244132757_I’ve been on the fence when it comes to Amazon’s (s amzn) e-book reader, the Kindle. I own one, and I like the convenience of not carrying books around when I go on business trips. But at home I prefer the organic and almost magical feel of a real book. In other words, I can’t quite make up my mind. For others, however, the issue is not one of digital vs. paper, but price.

In a survey conducted by New York-based investment bank J.P. Morgan, nearly 7 percent of the respondents either owned a Kindle or were planning to buy one within a year. But of those that don’t own one and don’t plan to, a vast majority said it cost too much. In other words, if Amazon priced it right — read: lower — the Kindle could turn out to be a proverbial gold mine. Here are some key findings from the J.P. Morgan survey:

  • 37 percent of those surveyed knew about the Kindle.
  • 51 percent of those who read 10 books or more every year knew about it.
  • Less than 5 percent owned one.
  • About 15 percent said they were planning to buy one.
  • Of those not looking to buy a Kindle, nearly 75 percent said that they were put off by the high price.
  • Nearly 73 percent said that they preferred reading paper books.

All the data points to a good future for Amazon. But the company needs to cut prices — to around, say, $199 for the basic model — before it can really clean up. Amazon’s focus has to be selling more “blades” (aka books) because the device market is about to experience price pressure in coming months as Sony (s sne) and others launch their e-book readers. (For further information about the e-reader market, check out our research report, Evolution of the e-Book Market, by Paul Sweeting on GigaOM Pro. This needs a $79-a-year subscription.)


While many have questioned Amazon’s move into making hardware, this little chart makes clear just how big Kindle could be for the Seattle-based e-tailer.

J.P. Morgan estimates that if there were 6 million Kindles on the market and their owners bought just two books a month, Amazon could experience a 40-cents-a-share bump to its annual earnings. That’s about $864 million in revenues. Now that is not something to Kindle about.

12 Responses to “Kindle: People Know About It, People Want It”

  1. The cost probably does impact the sales (for those as unfamiliar with the nuances of this product as with the true health care solutions being provided) but that is if you only look at it as a replacement for a book ; it includes lifetime wireless service. Sprint has to get a portion of the cost, there were development costs, there have been 2 versions of the product. If the issue is price, then remove the cellular connection and provide a “LITE” version that you must upload with the provided USB connection.

  2. i will buy a kindle (or comparable) when i can while reading through 1000 books at command + on-demand, I can highlight and search a term across the web, google scholar, books, and then click to buy pdf docs, books, or media. just for books seems so limiting without an active ‘search + Connect’ feature to rest of content.

  3. Theresa

    I want a kindle, I like the idea that I can have my whole library in a small device rather than stacks of books. Because of it’s ability to down load without a computer I think it is a better buy than the sony but, I wish Amazon would drop the price either 50.00 or give the purchaser a fifty dollar Amazon gift card to use on books or kindle supplies.

  4. This is a pretty small thing but in some cases an ebook would probably be a better form factor.

    I do not have a Kindle, but I was just thinking how it might be more comfortable and convenient reading in bed than a paper book. I was reading a large book last night and because of the size and need to keep the book from slipping closed there seemed to be few comfortable positions.

  5. I love my Kindle and use it all the time. I often will read it during the commute in the subway and bus on the way to work or in a coffee shop.

    What’s been interesting to me is the number of people that come up to me and say “Is that a Kindle?”. They all just want to touch it and see if it’s for real or not.

    Of the people that I see with a Kindle, I’d say that 70% are over the age of 50. I think the ability to turn up the text size is a big sell for a certain population.

    I agree that if they drop the price to $199 that they’ll pick up a bunch more people. The price point is the barrier for a lot of folks that I talk to.

    • I’ve had the same experience where people come up to me asking if they can hold my kindle to feel its weight, and check out the clarity of the text. I waited to purchase one myself until I had held one that a friend had purchased. I think sales would take off if Amazon partnered with a few retail outlets where people could touch the device, even if they have to purchase online. Maybe kiosks at malls?

  6. We have one in our office. I prefer reading a paper book, but would probably use it more if it didn’t require giving your credit card number for the FREE books. Also, we probably would have been more keen on it if it had come with a few more books pre-loaded.