Books written by Ray Sullivan

Monday, 14 November 2011

Kindle Price Drop at Tesco

The entry level Kindle, selling for £89 at Amazon, is being discounted at Tesco Direct by £10 until 1 December using the code TDX-NTRY.  Mind you, if you've just tried that link you'll see that Tesco aren't making it that obvious that there is a discount to be had, apparently you have to use the code at the checkout.  I've seen message board entries that indicate that the code does work and that people have been buying the device for £79 from Tesco - undercutting Amazon, the manufacturer, in the process.

I've said in earlier blogs that this Christmas is likely to be brutal from the perspective of the retail trade, which means consumers are going to experience some cracking deals.  With WH Smith entering the e-reader market with the Kobo (see my earlier blog entry) and Amazon keen to replicate its success of last year I think the e-reader market is going to be very aggressive.  At less than £100 the Kobo and Kindle products are ained squarely at the personal gift market, while the more upmarket offerings aren't stretching the price point too far, either. 

When you consider the next viable alternative to a dedicated e-reader is a tablet device then you're looking at iPad devices which, at £400 for the 16GB model and just under £500 for the 32GB version the cost becomes a major issue.  Unlike the US, which is seeing Amazon launching their tablet - the Kindle Fire - there's no realistic pressure on Apple to drop their prices - yet.  I've been trawling the message boards and the tech sites for hints about the UK launch of the Fire and there isn't any indication that it will happen this side of Christmas. 

There are other tablets out there, of course.  The likes of Samsung and other notable manufacturers have been making android tablets for some time, however these don't appear to have captured the public imagination and, crucially, support, in the same way that Apple has with its devices.  What Amazon are bringing to the table is a major recognisable brand and their own cloud network, which in many ways mirrors Apple's.  Whether Amazon's cloud will measure up to Apple's version which, when coupled to the new IOS 5 makes for an excellent combination, remains to be seen.  Also, as far as the UK market is concerned, the question about when the Amazon cloud will appear here is also relevant.  I guess the launch date for the Fire is not just about Amazon manufacturing sufficient devices to service the US and UK markets, but also the extension of the cloud into the region.

So, until the Fire is launched over here, the fight is going to be about dedicated e-readers.  Amazon must be aware that their cosy near monolpoly of the UK market is under threat this year and the only way they can combat that quickly is to fight on price.  Perhaps the Tesco offer is underwritten by Amazon to test the affect of discounting before the main purchasing period?

So, interesting times for anyone looking to enter the e-reader market.  There's a fair amount of choice out there but I think the fight will be predominantly between Kindle and Kobo this year.  Watch this space for more news.

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