Amazon’s swift improvement of its Kindle handheld reading devices has created an entry level bargain that may prove just as valuable to the company as its innovations. With the new Kindle Paperwhite selling for $99.99 during Amazon’s holiday push, and the high-res Kindle Voyage staking out the upper range (ultra thin, super-efficient battery user, adaptive lighting) at twice that price ($199.99), the regulation 6″ Kindle is just $59.99, not a whole lot more than the latest big hardcover. (Stephen King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams lists for $30 in hardcover, though the sale price is lower.)
But if the Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage are for high-end users, or satisfied readers who’ve already made the jump to reading on Kindles, the low price of the Kindle 6” may be just the gift that converts more users — and those who haven’t already made a transition to e-reading. Amazon has a long smart history of putting growing its customer base ahead of profit, and the $60 price point on this baseline Kindle could entice many late-adopters, especially those receiving it as an affordable gift. New users will be ripe for quick upgrades.