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Why Amazon Should Give Away Kindle Free
CNBC.com | June 22, 2010 | 01:34 PM EDT

From the moment the splashy elegance of the iPad first adorned the de rigueur giant video wall behind the Orwellian figure of Steve Jobs a few months ago, you just knew the Kindle was dead.

You can see it regularly on that most democratic of institutions, the New York City subway. An assiduously bookish young guy sits there with his Kindle, a hipster talisman less than a year ago. Soon as some slinky, black-clad tech temptress sits near him with her iPad, he’s suddenly so dated. He dare not even speak to her.

Amazon cut its Kindle price 27 percent yesterday, to $189 from $259. Barnes & Noble cut its same-price Nook reader to $199. And in the immortal words of Wallace Shawn’s irrepressible mensch on TV’s “Gossip Girl”: “It’s not enough!” Amazon should cut Kindle pricing even more: to zero.

That’s right—Jeff Bezos should give away the Kindle free of charge, to spur more sales of higher-profit online books. I made this argument earlier today on CNBC’s “The Call.” (Watch video of the segment here.)

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