A ZDNet article that ran on November 16 asked the question “Is the Kindle electronic book reader worth its current price of $359.00?” The article explores the answer to this question for college students and average readers.
For students in college and graduate school, ZDNet concludes that a Kindle is worth the expense:
However, a more realistic scenario [of student textbook purchasing] would be a blended cost, with half new and half used [textbooks], at $366.00 per semester. If they had purchased all of the books on the Kindle, they would have spent $234.00, or a savings of $132.00 per semester. Over a period of 8 semesters, that’s $1056.00, which if you subtract the cost of the Kindle at current prices, we’re talking about a net savings of $700.86 over four years, which is not insignificant. To put this another way, if college students had the ability to buy all their textbooks on Kindles, they could wipe out the cost of a Kindle with their savings over printed books in 3 semesters, or a year and a half.
However, the the article states that for the average reader, a Kindle is not a wise economic choice:
… we took a look at twelve New York Times best sellers, and totaled up the prices, assuming mostly hardcover with some paperbacks — this came to $168.15 if we bought them on Amazon. The Kindle cost would have been $109.11. In other words, if you read one book per month, and you subtract the cost of the Kindle, your net savings per year is approximately $59.04. To wipe out the cost of the Kindle completely, you have to buy and read six books per month to wipe out the Kindle’s cost over the course of one year. That’s a pretty voracious reading schedule — and if you’re reading that many books, you’re probably spending most of your time in a library and not purchasing them on Amazon.
So it would seem that unless the convenience factor of the Kindle currently outweighs its costs, the Kindle is not a huge value proposition for your average consumer today. But if its cost were to drop approximately in half – say, between the 3 and 4 book per month level — at around $200 per unit – then we might start seeing greater e-book adoption by a larger segment of the population. At the two books per month level, it’s going to need to cost around $125.00 or $150.00 or so.
I agree that it would be nice if a Kindle reading device would be at least half its current price, but I still think that it is a good investment over the long term. Additionally, you don’t have to pay to store paper books, which shaves off a little bit more from the equation.
What do our readers who own Kindles think of the article? Is the author right about it being about convenience and not cost? Let us know your opinion in the comments.
Previously on Unclutterer: