Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Kindle Decision

My wife and I are looking into eReaders. If we do get one, it will be the Kindle 3G without ads. The problem is whether or not to pull the trigger.

The recent price drop is frustrating because they cut the price of the 3G with special offers by 25 bucks, but did not drop the one without special offers. I like to think of the different versions in terms of the marginal cost of features.

The base model is still $114. It used to be: add $25 to get rid of special offers and/or add $50 to upgrade to 3G. The price drop messed up that equation. Now it's: add $25 to get rid of either special offers or upgrade to 3G or add $75 to get rid of both. Or, to put it another way, getting rid of special offers on a wi-fi Kindle only costs $25, but removing it from a 3G Kindle costs $50.

Even though the price of the one we wanted hasn't changed, I would feel ripped off if I bought it, now.

The bigger issue, however, is whether to buy an eBook reader at all. I've listed the pros and cons below. Please help me decide if the pros outweigh the cons.

- Single device stores your entire eBook library
- Download books instantly from anywhere
- Cloud stores bookmarks and notes that transfer to other devices/apps
- eBooks linked to account, so no risk of loss or damage
- Lots of free and really cheap books
- Free library lending without haveing to go to the library (coming soon to Kindle)

- Can only lend a book once, and only for 14 days, and only if the author/publisher allows
- Cannot sell, exchange, donate or give away used eBooks
- New/popular books cost the same as print copies, which is expensive considering the above restrictions and the fact that I will have spent money on the reader, too.

So, right now we're in a holding pattern. I think it will come down to how the library lending ends up working out. The Cons all go away if you only use it for free and library books. Some of the pros go away, too, but any remaining pros outweigh zero cons. Then the question remains: do we buy any books for it?

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