Should Amazon Create a “Paperback” Kindle?

Soth Godin, a blogger and author suggests that Amazon should create a “paperback” version of the Kindle.  Hypothetically speaking, this inexpensive device would only include the bare bones and cost about $50.  It would be small enough to fit in your pocket or purse like a paperback book.  Spending less on the e-reader allows you to spend more on the books.  So, I see Amazon’s revenue jumping in Kindle book sales once the Kindle price comes down.  That is, if the publishers can find a way to balance out the prices of the books, which they will eventually.  E-books are still a relatively new market.

According to an article from Wired magazine, the e-book reader market will soon split into two segments.  One will be for simple, cheap e-readers with monochrome e-ink such as the Kindle.  The other will be for high end e-readers with color touch screens such as the iPad.

The only way to get authors and publishers to embrace this device is to sell 20,000,000 of them. You either become the best and only platform for consuming books worth buying or you fail. And the only way to create that footprint in the face of an iPad is to make it so cheap to buy and use it’s irresistible.  – Godin

It depends on what market Amazon wants to focus on.  If they decide to take the software route and continue to market Kindle for various devices, they are already ahead of the game.  If they decide to create a cheap Kindle as Godin is suggesting, then they should make it around the size of the iPod touch or iPhone, maybe a little bit larger.  Lately I’ve been using my iPod Touch to reach Kindle books simply because it is more portable.

I would purchase a “paperback’ Kindle.  It would be much cheaper than any other device out there, including iPods, not to mention the iPad. It also would have the battery life to beat.  I might even consider buying both the iPad and the Kindle paperback version.  A cheaper Kindle would be a great beach accessory.

10 thoughts on “Should Amazon Create a “Paperback” Kindle?

  1. I wouldn’t want to do much reading on a screen much smaller than what the kindle2 has. I have an iphone with the kindle app on it, and I find that I never use it, in large part because the screen is just too small.

    they could shrink the reader by giving it a touchscreen instead of keys. Getting one down to where it can fit in a suit pocket would be a breakpoint (paperback books can fit, so you could be just a little larger if you are thinner)

    I do think there is space in the market for cheap readers that don’t have all the connecivity options.

  2. Get rid of the keyboard. Keep the same size screen and you’re just about there. No one does much typing on the Kindle, so for a search, have a pick a letter menu activated by the joystick. That should cover the requirements for online purchase, but don’t reduce the screen size at all. If Kindle wants to drop the price further, then dump the wireless capability and load any new books via PC interface.

  3. I am a Kindle DX user. From my reading experience I like to say that kindle dx with the e-ink style is the more likable e-reading. Similar to real books is the background color, you do not get tired or awake like with the LCD experience.
    9.6″ in size is for me the right size, cause is the size of a regular book, you don’t have to turn so many pages. And maybe, just maybe the way the buttons are located.
    The only upgrade to my taste is eliminating the keyboard,from doing that, you will eliminate some weight that from my experience I have not used at all. Or incorporated keyboard in the software so you may used in the screen.
    If you want it for reading books you also don’t need a big memory, because mainly you used your computer for keeping, downloading and managing your books.
    It is an opinion from a one year user, and a very happy one.

  4. It sounds to me like what’s being asked for is the Kobo, which goes for $150, here in Canada. Take off the bluetooth and you’re down to what, $135.

  5. I’d be good with a Kindle that fit into a large coat or jacket pocket…but I’m just not that excited about color or applications or backlighting. There’s a reason I almost always read my Kindle books on my Kindle, and not on my iPod Touch or on my PC, though both have the application.

  6. I think they would better off to embellish the Kindle app for iPad and concentrate on selling books for it. Apple did all the heavy lifting to make a color, high capacity, connected Kindle eBook reader. If the eBook business works on the razor/blade business model why worry about who makes the razor?

  7. BobW , Apple makes a competing e-book reader for the iPad , how can Amazon be sure that Apple would not forbid Kindle for the i-pad in order to boost its own book sales ? With its own reader Amazon has control of its own destiny.

  8. I would love a “paperback” version of the kindle. Not as big as the kindle but bigger than an iPhone – dump the keyboard. The expense stops a lot of folks and those are the same folks that ordinarily wait til a book comes out in paperback.

    I would also like to see if made tough, physically. Something of the sort needs to happen before the ereader will be adopted for mainstream education. How wonderful it would be to have every book an English class is required to read for the school year already loaded on kindles. Leave the ability to change text size, get a definition of a highlighted word, and text to sound capability. I would buy them for my whole family.

  9. Drop the wireless and the keyboard. Just do a connect to the computer thing for transferring files. I can’t imagine the screen being much smaller than the existing model though.

  10. FrancescoN wrote: “BobW , Apple makes a competing e-book reader for the iPad , how can Amazon be sure that Apple would not forbid Kindle for the i-pad in order to boost its own book sales ”

    I doubt Apple will make much profit on the book sales, just like they don’t make much profit (if any) on the music sales or app sales. They might make slightly more profit on the book sales than on the others, because the sale price will be higher.

    But Apple makes the majority of its money on hardware sales. So if a Kindle app gets people to buy iPads instead of kindles, Apple’s going to be perfectly happy with that.

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