Amazon Lowers Kindle 2 Price to $299

7/8/09

Amazon’s e-book reader, the Kindle, dropped $60 in price today from $359 to $299, only five months after the February debut of the second generation reader.

The price change comes as something of a surprise, after repeated statements from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to the effect that the company could not sell the Kindle for less than $359, given the expense of components such as its electronic-ink screen, made by Cambridge, MA-based E Ink. “If we could make it cheaper we would. We can’t make it cheaper,” Bezos said in an interview with Reuters in February.

Technology seems to have improved since then. In an e-mail message today, Amazon public relations manager Cinthia Portugal said “We’ve been able to increase the volume of Kindles we’re manufacturing and decrease the cost of doing so. Across our business at Amazon.com, whenever we are able to create cost efficiencies like this, we pass the savings along to our customers.”

Amazon is notorious for being unwilling to share sales information about the Kindle devices or the content they display. But in terms of manufacturing, iSuppli estimated after “tearing down” the Kindle 2 that the cost of the device’s parts totals only $185.

Although still comprising less than one percent of the overall book market, the digital reading market is growing fast, and it seems likely that many consumers will take the Kindle 2 price drop as their signal to try e-books. Amazon’s other e-reader meanwhile, a larger version of the Kindle that launched in June called the Kindle DX, is still retailing for $489 and is sold out for the next three to five weeks.

Eric Hal Schwartz was an intern in Xconomy's Seattle office. Follow @

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  • Khakijo

    I was curious, do the people who have paid the higher price get some type of refund? Seems a bit unfair to penalize those who were the early adopters. Just curious.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/eschwartz/ Eric Hal Schwartz

    There’s no specific refund plan at the moment although Amazon’s general refund policy means that some people may be able to return their Kindle for the price they paid and then buy it again more cheaply.