Everyone loves a great mystery story for summer reading. But this summer the mystery that is stirring the minds of many e-book fans isn’t a novel or thriller story, it’s the original e-reader device…the Kindle. The much-loved basic Kindle is the subject of lots of rumors that you may have heard, about whether it’s no longer going to be made. In other words, it may be discontinued. If you investigate this intriguing summertime mystery you’ll see that it’s a cliffhanger so far.
What’s Generating the Speculation
Although nothing has yet been officially confirmed or denied by Amazon, the questions are swirling, especially on blogs and social media. Will the Kindle that helped make history now actually be history? If you visit Amazon now, you’ll see that its “family” of Kindle devices displays the Paperwhite, Voyage, and Oasis. Those are being heavily marketed, as usual. On the same page there are comparisons and write-ups that talk about the various features of each Kindle e-reader. But the basic Kindle isn’t shown as a member of the family of devices. That makes people wonder why not. Meanwhile, if you read the section near the bottom of that long page, where there is a large paragraph under the heading Kindle, it says, “Amazon has a wide assortment of e-readers, including Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage, and Kindle Oasis.” So it gets mentioned there. That makes lots of people think that while it’s still an Amazon product, the company may be positioning it for discontinuation.
Amazon invented the groundbreaking Kindle as the first mass-market e-reader device in 2007. That revolutionary launch changed how consumers worldwide buy and read e-books, and it catapulted Amazon’s brand, sales, and revenues. Today the company has an inventory of more than 6,000,000 e-books available for download, and that’s just in Amazon’s online store in the United States. Most people don’t know that Amazon originally called its e-reader “Fiona.” But before its official debut on Amazon a marketing company suggested Kindle, which is now a household name. They picked that name because it captured the idea that the brand would start a fire…which is what small pieces of wood called kindling do. Indeed, the Kindle created a wildfire in terms of widespread sales of e-readers…and when it went on sale in 2007 it sold out within less than six hours. That’s despite the high price tag of $399.
Amazon E-Readers Today
The original Kindle eventually spawned not just a marketing and branding fire, but a device named Fire. The Kindle Fire is one of the favorite e-reader, and Amazon has an entire series of those gadgets…versatile e-reader tablets that can multitask and let you do things like surf the internet. While it’s not technically classified as part of the Kindle family, many readers use it as an e-reader, and its popularity has inspired Amazon to make lots of different generations of Fire models. On another interesting note, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, once told reporters from the BBC that people who buy a Kindle wind up reading four times as much as they did before owning one. But he also claimed that Amazon didn’t make a profit on Kindle devices. He said that the company sold them at cost, and made their money from selling e-books and other products.
You Can Still Buy One, at Least for Now
But if you’ve had a Kindle on your wish list, don’t panic. You can still buy a basic Kindle, last time we checked. In early June there were plenty in stock and ready to ship immediately from Amazon, for the competitive price of $79.99, including free shipping. You can still download a Kindle app for your smartphone, too. Adding to the ambiguity surrounding the future of Kindle is the fact that at the bottom of the page for buying the $79.99 Kindle it’s listed in the comparison section…alongside the Paperwhite, Voyage, and Oasis. So although it’s not listed on the page mentioned earlier that advertises the Kindle family, it’s still got its own page and shows up there next to the rest of the family. You can also still find certified refurbished models on Amazon for just $59.99, including free shipping. Even if the basic Kindle goes the way of the dinosaur, there will probably be plenty of those refurbished models available for quite some time.