Money Matters - Simplified

Amazon streamlining Kindle lineup to outdo rivals

Amazon is opening up its Kindle books to PC users. Within a month the company will roll out a free download that will enable users to access Kindle library on their PCs or laptops operating on Windows XP, Vista and 7

New York, October 23 -- Amid raging competition in the e-reader market, Amazon is gearing up to outflank rivals.

Amazon has over the years dominated the market with its e-book reader, Kindle. Now bookselling behemoth, Barnes & Noble Inc has unveiled its e-reader Nook, aiming to dethrone Amazon from the position of the market leader.

But Amazon is not sitting still. With an aim to maintain its commanding lead, Amazon is streamlining its product line up.

Amazon slashes Kindle price
Just a day after Barnes & Noble revealed Nook, Amazon has slashed the price of international version of its Kindle e-book reader.

The company had earlier this month announced that it will soon start selling a new version of the Kindle, priced at $279 that can wirelessly download books in more than 100 countries.

The price of the international version, which began shipping Oct. 19 onwards, has been reduced by $20, in line with price of Nook at $259.

For those who have already ordered the new version of Kindle, Amazon has announced refund on the purchase.

In an e-mail sent to its customers, Amazon stated that due to “strong customer demand” it is consolidating its family of 6 inch kindles and lowering the price of international version. The “refund should be processed in the next few days and will appear as a credit on your next billing statement”.

With this statement, it can be assumed that the company is only gearing up to position Kindle as a powerful contender to Nook.

Kindle library opens to PC users
Further, Amazon is also opening up its Kindle books to PC users. Within a month, the company will roll out a free download that will enable users to access Kindle library on their PCs or laptops operating on Windows XP, Vista and 7.

The Kindle PC program “automatically synchronizes your last page read and annotations between devices with Whispersync,” Amazon stated.

Here, Amazon is only trying to match up to its rivals. Sony e-reader already offers this facility. Even the new e-reader by Barnes & Noble claims to offer the PC sync-up program.

End users happy
Whether Amazon will retain its monopoly over the growing e-book market or the emerging contenders will eat into its market share is not yet known but one thing is certain, Amazon’s move to streamline its Kindle lineup has benefited the end users.

Majority of the Kindle users have welcomed the latest move by Amazon.

A user named T-Bone commented on engadget.com, “ Great to see that all the limitations Amazon put in place on Kindle and its DRM books have nothing to do with real software/hardware/legal limitations and were just made up (at the expense of consumers). All you have to do is wait for other devices to start offering functionality like this and then all of sudden the impossible becomes possible.”

Another user named Andrea Bremo posted his view on slashgear.com, “That’s great to have more options to read Amazon’s ebooks in addition to Kindle. After all, the reason I hesitate to get a Kindle is due to the closed eco-system of the Kindle system, which makes Amazon the gatekeeper in that case.”

“Things like this are always a smart move. That is great customer treatment and it will go a long way for Amazon,” stated Scott Michael Harris on mashable.com.