The $69 Kindle is Out of Stock – Could This be a Sign of a New Model on the Way?

The $69 Kindle is Out of Stock - Could This be a Sign of a New Model on the Way? Amazon e-Reading Hardware Kindle Initially released in late 2011, the basic Kindle set a new standard in the ebook reader for minimal features at minimal price. With only minimal hardware updates (it was re-released in 2012 in black), it has proven to be a mainstay in Amazon's dominance of the ebook reader market.

And now it seems to have begun to go out of stock.

Update: A replacement model leaked. It's going to cost a little more and come with a touchscreen.

My competitor noticed earlier today that the budget-priced Kindle is no longer quite so budget priced. The ad-supported model which sold for $69 is no longer available on Amazon.com, and not so coincidentally, the $89 international model is not available either.

Amazon has replaced the buy button for these two models with links to marketplace sellers which have them in stock - a telling detail, IMO. When Amazon runs out of an item, they usually tell you how long you will have to wait before new stock arrives. The absence of that estimated arrival time raises questions as to whether the models will be back in stock.

The $69 Kindle is Out of Stock - Could This be a Sign of a New Model on the Way? Amazon e-Reading Hardware Kindle

Update: The full priced basic Kindle is no longer available directly from Amazon.com, either.

While Amazon is still selling the full-priced version of this ereader for $89 (and it is still in stock on several of Amazon's European websites), the stock issue with the ad-supported model has my competitor wondering whether Amazon is going to upgrade it with a new model.

I'm not so sure.

The thing we have to keep in mind with the basic Kindle is that it is designed to be the cheapest Kindle which Amazon could make.  I don't see Amazon upgrading it, not unless the replacement can be made as cheap (or cheaper).

What's more, this Kindle model hasn't received a firmware update since January 2013. It's missed out on several major feature changes, including Goodreads integration. That suggests that Amazon is not investing in this model because they don't have any plans to keep it around.

In short, I think this model is on the way out.

If I were going to speculate, I would posit that either Amazon has decided they don't need a cheapie Kindle any more, or they could be planning to replace it with a Kindle Paperwhite whose price was knocked down to (say) $99.

Given the shrinking ereader market and the rise of reading ebooks on tablets and smartphones, I think the first possibility is the more likely one.

But this is pure crystal ball territory, so your guess is as good as mine.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

23 Comments

  1. William D. O'Neil3 September, 2014

    One way this is unfortunate is that it’s another step toward barring a significant and growing segment of the population from reading e-books. Not because they cannot afford the devices but because all the available devices rely on touchscreens that they are unable to use for one reason or another. People with too much tremor, or not enough strength, or with prosthetic hands. I know two such people, and the aging of the population will create more. They need devices with buttons, and soon it appears there won’t be any.

    Reply
    1. AJ3 September, 2014

      Exactly! My 87 yo mothers Kindle Keyboard broke (well…she stepped on it ;)), and she can’t use a touch screen. Had to buy a used Keyboard for her. I think I’ll buy a couple more to have on hand just in case – we have a large Kindle library now, and are stuck with Amazon.

      Reply
      1. MrG5 September, 2014

        Strip the DRM and you can put them on any device you want.

        Reply
    2. twobitcoder8 September, 2014

      You are implying that physical books are already long gone? Buy granny a hardcover. They’re still huge and easy to handle.

      Reply
      1. William D. O'Neil8 September, 2014

        Believe it or not, there are people who cannot handle print books, whether hardbound or paper, for whom an e-reader is the key to freedom. I know one.

        And while well-equipped geeks with nimble fingers and no vision problems have no difficulty in stripping the DRM and transferring the book to a device of their choice, not everyone is able to do so. For them the ability to buy books from the Kindle is very helpful.

        Just because you are not dependent on Kindle devices does not mean that everyone is so fortunate.

        Reply
  2. fjtorres3 September, 2014

    I suspect we’ll see a cut-rate lit reader slotting in as the new basic Kindle.
    Whether it is merely a lower price Paperwhite (touch and all) or a touchless lit basic is a bit trickier. I think it’ll depend on whether anything else pops up (like a higher-res or Liquavista model).
    Absent a higher-end model, I’ll bet on a lit basic, button-driven Kindle.

    (Which would make me quite happy.)

    Reply
  3. David Taylor3 September, 2014

    “Given the shrinking eReader market…” Are you sure?

    Yes, Sony and possibly Nook are going out of business but the market for eReaders taken as a whole is growing well.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder3 September, 2014

      eReaders are still being sold every year but the market is not getting bigger, no. Analysts are saying that it is declining, and E-ink’s revenues suggest that they’re selling fewer screens than they did in 2012.

      http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/06/29/early-plan-wake-ereader/

      Reply
      1. David Taylor3 September, 2014

        Nate,

        You’re referring to dedicated E-ink readers. That was not obvious.

        Now I understand what you were saying.

        Reply
  4. Name (required)3 September, 2014

    Amazon.de still has them in stock

    Reply
  5. Paul3 September, 2014

    They knocked a paperwhite kindle for me down to $69 last week.

    Reply
  6. Timothy Wilhoit4 September, 2014

    The $89 version has also disappeared. It was still there an hour ago.

    Reply
  7. Sarah Smith4 September, 2014

    I have a tablet, and a very nice one, and I sometimes read on my phone, but I always prefer to read on a basic Kindle. It’s cheap enough to be disposable/lost and the battery lasts forever. If Amazon stops selling at this price point, I’ll replace with something similar, not from Amazon, that runs the Kindle app.

    Reply
  8. Andrea Carr4 September, 2014

    what’s wrong with using the kindle app its free? why buy a kindle, at all. i never did.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder4 September, 2014

      There’s also the cost of buying that gadget which is running the app.

      Reply
    2. David Taylor4 September, 2014

      Andrea, the free Kindle app is fine and I use it every day.

      I would say that if you have never tried an e-Ink reader you should give your eyes a treat. The experience of using an actual Kindle (not a Kindle Fire) is a revelation.

      Reply
      1. Andrea Carr4 September, 2014

        oh really, you have me curious now. i’m actually excited. lol
        i love to read there is nothing like it. but, due to illness my eyes are failing.
        let’s throw in audible also, an amazon company. i usually use the audio, to spare my failing eyes now. yet, it’s not the same experience or have the text is so large. it’s annoying to read.

        Reply
  9. Patrick Watson5 September, 2014

    Kindle with Special Offers for $69 appears to be shipping in 1-2 weeks from Amazon. Without Special Offers is only being offered by other sellers.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder5 September, 2014

      That was fun while it lasted.

      Thanks!

      Reply
      1. Andre17 September, 2014

        Hey Nate, you have a really great blog! I come here daily to check the news on eReaders.
        Yesterday KindleWorld* reported that the simpler Kindle desapeared from the Kindle eReaders line-up. I checked now and it’s true. I think Nathan from the eBookReader was right, they are up to something new.
        See you.

        *http://kindleworld.blogspot.com.br/

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder17 September, 2014

          Yes, that happened long after this post, and even after my follow up post:
          http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/09/06/much-ado-nothing-basic-kindle-back-amazon/

          I think the basic Kindle currently enjoys the same undead status as the Kindle DX.

          Reply
  10. […] Earlier this week Amazon sent a certain segment of the blogosphere into a tizzy when the retailer ran out of Kindles, but now it seems our frenzied speculation may have been premature. […]

    Reply
  11. […] in the excited chatter about the Kindle Voyage comes the news that Amazon is indeed replacing the now discontinued basic Kindle with a touchscreen […]

    Reply

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