Finally, Amazon has either read a few of my posts or looked into some economics: Amazon is offering free Kindle ebook readers to some pre-qualified customers. These customers are enticed to purchase the Kindle, then if they find it not to their liking, request a refund and keep the Kindle. The endgame is content, not hardware.
It appears that Amazon is being extremely selective, choosing only folks who have a history with Amazon of buying books over the years. A couple of books a month seems to be the common thread between those who’ve seen this offer. It seems that being a Prime member helps as well.
Amazon is hedging it’s bets: by picking folks who love books, chances are good they’ll love the Kindle. If they are a loyal Amazon customer, the time and effort to call or email for a refund might be too much. Even if these screen users get a refund, their buying habits suggest they’ll keep buying books, perhaps for the Kindle and Amazon recoups the outlay.
I’ve been suggesting a similar scheme for some time. We Americans seem to dislike big upfront payments. We can justify smaller monthly payments a lot easier. The MPAA should have spent their money on buying iPods for every man, woman, and child rather then on lawyers; as their fortunes would have risen more by providing everyone a way to get content. Amazon is getting over the early-adopter tax and moving on to mass adoption.
Is this all about Apple’s imminent tablet perhaps taking a bite out of Kindle’s niche? Perhaps, but I see this as a better way to reach the masses, rather than just loyal Applites gobbling up the latest shiny thing. At least for the first few iterations.