Poll: Is there still a place for dedicated e-readers like the Kindle 3?

Poll: Is there still a place for dedicated e-readers like the Kindle 3?

Summary: Amazon unveiled the Kindle 3 this week with a few minor improvements and a much better price tag. But do customers still want dedicated e-readers? Take the poll.

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Amazon launched the Kindle 3 (right) this week with a few minor improvements and a much better price tag. It looks great and works better, but the question everyone seem to be asking is whether people still want dedicated e-readers, or if they'll just read electronic books on existing mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) instead.

So we'd like to pose that question to the peanut gallery in today's poll. But first, I'll give you my quick take on it.

The primary factor here is price. Now that the Kindle is down to $139 for the Wi-Fi model and $189 for the 3G edition, it's not really a competitor with the Apple iPad any more. Don't forget that just 13 months ago, the Kindle cost $359. Here's a recap of how the price of the Kindle has dropped over the past two years:

  • Nov 19, 2007: $399
  • Feb 10, 2009: $359
  • Jul 8, 2009: $299
  • Oct 7, 2009: $259
  • Jun 21, 2010: $189
  • Jul 28, 2010: $139 ($189 for 3G)

The Kindle was a tougher sell earlier this year when it was only a couple hundred bucks cheaper than an iPad, which does so much more and is actually a better e-reader in most cases.

However, the Kindle also still has a few feature advantages over the iPad:

  • You can read it in full sunlight because it uses E-ink rather than LCD
  • It's thinner, lighter, and smaller, so it's much easier to hold in one hand
  • The screen is plastic and not glass, so it's more durable
  • With the 3G model, you don't pay any service fees for the mobile Internet connection to download books

When the Kindle first launched in 2007, I said that Amazon would sell a ton of them if they were $99. I still stand by that, even with the iPad as a competitor. Nevertheless, when you use a Kindle after using a smartphone or a tablet, the screen doesn't look very impressive and the refresh rate for turning pages can feel painfully slow. But, when you're paying a fraction of the cost, I think most people will take those trade-offs. That includes many businesses. I think we'll soon see professionals in conference rooms using e-readers and tablets to navigate large documents rather than placing big piles of paper in front of each of the participants.

What do you think? Answer the question and jump in the discussion.

Take the poll

[poll id="137"]

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Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Hardware, iPad, Tablets

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20 comments
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  • At least won't over hear under sunlight :)

    Yes, it will sell lots more if the price is $99. It does not over heat like iPad.
    jwpan
  • Asking the Wrong Question?

    Your poll would have been a lot different if you'd asked "Would you (or have you) personally BUY a Kindle." Otherwise, it's a poll asking us to speculate on what OTHER people think--not really reliable.

    You might also consider asking, "At what price would you buy a Kindle? $25-50, $50-75, $75-100" or something like that.
    tomogden
  • RE: Poll: Is there still a place for dedicated e-readers like the Kindle 3?

    In my tool box, I have several different screwdrivers and wrenches. Each is selected for a specific job. I don't think there is a future for a "Swiss Army" type of device.
    Dr Duke 2000
  • I think they will be around for a while

    But it a more limited fashion then one might have thought a year ago. They will remain as a way for ebook distributors (Amazon, B&N, etc) to service their existing and new customers because they will recap any losses in ebook sales.

    As far as these readers replacing paper in the conference room, if by soon you meant 20 years from now when the current crop of elders (that can barely check their email) move on towards retirement, then yes I agree.
    oncall
  • The real question is...

    Is there room for an $872 iPad?
    trickytom2
    • Highest price (U.S.) is $829 but I get your point

      @trickytom2
      Although I don't own an iPad and don't anticipate buying one soon, I think there is. For the road warrior who wants to go from hotel to hotel and take their own library of video with them, the 64GB of storage would be handy.

      Would I pay it? - No.
      Is there a market? - IMHO, yes.

      I hope that answers your question. ;)
      use_what_works_4_U
  • Still a place? More like "never was a place"

    $300-$400 for a device that only does books? No thanks.
    User 13
    • It's $189...

      @User 13

      iPad...$827 for a device that can't print?
      trickytom2
      • Wow, that is the stupidest reason I ever heard

        The iPad can't print ...... but either can the Kindle.

        In fact, the Kindle can't do: video, music, animation, email, web browsing, apps, real notes, weather, stocks, geo-location, maps, games, up-to-date news, order food, Skype calls, or even color still pictures. Oh hell!!! It can't even display a decent image in B&W.

        In other words, the Kindle can only show a simple e-book in B&W, NOTHING ELSE. That makes any complain about another product not being able to do x or y totally pointless and ridiculously stupid.
        wackoae
  • as of this post

    88% yes, 12% no

    Does that answer your question?
    DadsPad
  • RE: Poll: Is there still a place for dedicated e-readers like the Kindle 3?

    The iPad may be great but there are a lot of people out there who only want a book reader. Why pay the extra for functionality you won't use?
    Blurgle
  • RE: Poll: Is there still a place for dedicated e-readers like the Kindle 3?

    The problem is the authors. There are so many books that need to be in e-format like all my children's school books and all the classic favorites. Many authors don't want the electronic version. With some power we should refuse to buy the book if it is not available electronically.
    rick@...
    • RE: Poll: Is there still a place for dedicated e-readers like the Kindle 3?

      @rick@... <br>It's not so much the AUTHORS as the PUBLISHERS. Authors, too, but in a LOT of cases, the Publishers don't want to give the HUGE profits in treeware. People will pay $20-$40 for a hardcover, and $6-$9 for the same book in paper - but are NOT pleased about shelling out the hardcover price for electrons! And yet, with computer typesetting being the norm these days, it is NOT all the big a deal to convert a file to eBook format - and takes minutes at most. At VERY LITTLE COST. From then on, it's just a matter of posting a link on a RETAILER'S Web Page - that the customer can't access until after buying the eBook.<br>But yes, there are some authors who want the paper price - not realizing that they will get the same royalties either way, IF THEY HAVE AN INTELLIGENT AGENT (J.K. ROWLING, TAKE NOTE!), but still refuse to listen.<br>Oh well, some folks need to learn the hard way.
      jkratzer3
  • RE: Poll: Is there still a place for dedicated e-readers like the Kindle 3?

    For me, the weight and form factor is very important. When it comes to paper books, I have a problem holding heavy text books and hardback novels. The lighter the book the better. I also need fairly large print for comfortable reading. On top of all that, I'm on a fixed income and don't have a bunch of money. The new Kindle is very tempting. Other than the fact that I buy most paperbacks at Arc or Goodwill for 1 or 2 dollars, the light weight and convenience of not having to have space for many bookshelves, and the ability to read in outdoor conditions, makes the Kindle an attractive buy. Maybe Amazon needs to direct its marketing to all of us old pharts? (grin). My biggest problem is not the reader, but the price of ebooks.
    dachba
  • RE: Poll: Is there still a place for dedicated e-readers like the Kindle 3?

    Sell it?

    Amazon should give it away when you purchase a book from them to enhance the 'reading' experience.

    Honestly this the most obscene dumbing down of modern technology I have ever witnessed.

    The notion that a simple reader whose technology is far less than a 12megapixal camera with 5x optical zoom yet costs quite a bit more is ludicrous.

    It's the most basic, simplistic gadget of the modern age, yet they thought they could get away with pushing a super dumb gadget at a premium price, jeez
    JonathanSeer
    • The cost is in e-ink display

      ... which in reality is nothing more than a rename technology .... since e-ink is nothing more than the same LCD technology used in the graphic calculators sold in late 80's early 90's, with a little better resolution.
      wackoae
  • RE: Poll: Is there still a place for dedicated e-readers like the Kindle 3?

    Question should have been. Will Kindle need to lower book prices to remain competitive with IPad and other devices? I love my Kindle, but the idea that the price of e-books can continue to go up on dedicated e-readers is nuts. They are raising prices with no additional perks such as a lending or sharing program.

    When publishers and Amazon can demand the book cost the same as the paper copy there is going to be a slow down in demand. JMHO
    cogdeje
    • That is my main complain about ebooks

      You pay almost as much as a book, but you can't share it, re-sell it or give it away.

      Because e-books are mostly disposable investments. So they should be between $1 to $3 for non-technical books and no more than $10 for technical (college) books.
      wackoae
  • Wrong question, Indeed!

    Kindle is one of the BEST eReaders built, and that's in a generation that includes the Nook, the Sony eReader, and the latest version of the MS Reader software, which runs on anything that will run ANY version of Windows. Plus all the various hardware that can run anything Acrobat.
    BUT, take note of the PLETHORA of formats I just mentioned above. And take note of ALL the PROPRIETARY formats in that cloud.
    And take CAREFUL note of the various pricing schema on all the different Web sites. Some places (such as Baen.com) you can get current publications for FREE, just as a teaser, to get you hooked; other places, you'd better bring a BIG wallet, or you will not get ANYTHING OFF the treeware price - where's the incentive to buy the electronics?
    Publishing houses need to STOP THE GREED, stop the format wars, and - just like vinyl, tape, and digital audio and video went to a STANDARD, SET A STANDARD FORMAT for DIGITAL PUBLISHING - and STICK TO IT.
    Unless, of course, they WANT to kill this eBook thing.
    Which, of course, is a BIG possibility.
    jkratzer3
  • RE: Poll: Is there still a place for dedicated e-readers like the Kindle 3?

    I want my phone to make phone calls.
    I want my e-reader to show books. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm getting closer to buying one, but the Kindle won't be in the running until it uses an open format. I converted all my CDs to FLAC, and buy new music as FLAC when available. I spend a LOT of money on books, and I am not willing to switch my investment to electronic format unless I am certain I'll be able to store and read them easily for decades to come.
    Evil(er) Overlord