Amazon isn’t standing still in the new rivalry with Apple’s iPad for ebook consumers. Just a week after the Seattle-based maker of the Kindle announced it would buy a multitouch screen manufacturer and design a color e-book reader comes word Amazon will give free Kindles to its best “Amazon Prime” customers.
“A reliable source tells us Amazon wants to give a free Kindle to every Amazon Prime subscriber,” Tech Crunch’s Michael Arrington writes Friday. Amazon Prime is a $79 per year subscription program providing free two-day shipping on items purchased from the online retailer. Subscribers are frequent Amazon customers, including ebooks for the Kindle.
The free offer apparently is the end-result of a January program from Amazon allowing customers who buy a Kindle and are not satisfied to receive a full refund – along with keeping the ebook reader.
The move by Amazon is seen as just the latest to level the playing field with Apple, which analysts and others say could present the Kindle with its greatest challenge. Already Amazon has caved-into publishers demanding Apple-like contracts that would spell the end of the company’s $9.99 ebook pricing.