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Much Ado About Nothing: The Basic Kindle is Back at Amazon

kindle itunes 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.

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

The basic Kindle is still out of stock on, but on Friday Amazon updated the listing with a new ship notice; they’re now expecting the ad-support model to be back in stock some time in the next one to two weeks.

Well, that was fun while it lasted, but even though this turned out to be a smaller story than I expected we still learned something interesting.

It appears that the basic Kindle, while not actually having been discontinued, has been deprecated by Amazon.

I know that might sound like a strange conclusion, but bear with me. At this point we know two important details about the basic cheapie Kindle; Amazon let it run out of stock, and they have not updated it since January 2013.


Interestingly enough, we can make similar statements about the Kindle DX, which Amazon let go out of stock for the first time in October 2012. That ereader has gone out of stock at least twice since then, most recently in April 2014, before coming back in to stock a few weeks or months later.

Amazon hasn’t updated the Kindle DX in the longest time, but they do keep letting it go out of stock and bringing it back. This suggests that Amazon is having new units produced in limited quantities, and I would bet that the basic Kindle is now going to enjoy a similar fate.

Amazon probably isn’t going to replace the basic cheapie Kindle with a new model, not even with a reduced price Kindle Paperwhite. Instead I would expect that the basic Kindle is only going to be available on an irregular basis from here on out.

While that is pure speculation, until the Kindle gets an update or is formally replaced, my theory fits all of the facts better than any other explanation.

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The $69 Kindle is Out of Stock – Could This be a Sign of a New Model on the Way? – The Digital Reader September 6, 2014 um 2:02 pm

[…] Update: It’s not yet back in stock, but Amazon does expect to get more units in to their warehouse in one to two weeks. […]

Ebook Bargains UK September 7, 2014 um 4:33 am

It doesn’t say much for Amazon’s fabled investment in stock control and delivery systems if it can’t even manage its own products on a JIT basis.

Maybe Bezos will spend some of that $2 billion he borrowed from Bank of America on Friday on actually making Amazon products available to Amazon customers.

While Amazon has been out with the begging bowl, Apple seems to be drowning in cash.

Now if only they’d throw some of that at the iBooks store…

AvidReader September 8, 2014 um 7:57 am

Yet with all Apple’s money, they still borrowed for their stock repurchased.

Bob A September 7, 2014 um 9:07 am

Amazon let the Paperwhite 2nd generation go out of stock earlier this year. I was trying to buy one in February or March. Amazon didn’t have any and their projected ship date was mid- to late-April (after I would be back overseas). I found only one in stock at any brick-and-mortar store (a Best Buy) within a 100 mile radius. I was SURE that Amazon was on the brink of releasing a new Paperwhite and I was going to miss it by a month. Naw, they were just out of stock, period, end of story. 😀

andrys September 16, 2014 um 1:39 pm

Did you check the page today though, Nate? Customers shouldn’t have to do a "search" for the basic model. It should be in the Kindle family header,
and when you go to its product-page (which does not have a pointer to a new product-details page — at least not yet –), it should not show NOTHING in the box for buying, etc., at top right.

They may yet come up with a new product-details page for this one too, as they did with the Paperwhites, without explaining what they’ve changed (you said there had been a doubling of storage) or even that it has been changed.

Nate Hoffelder September 16, 2014 um 1:43 pm

I didn’t check today, but it has been in stock at a couple points over the past week.

andrys September 18, 2014 um 9:14 am

Well, now we know why last October’s NoTouch Kindle was totally missing from the header and shown on the product-details page as of the 16th as never available again.

It was quite a change from what you saw on product pages for this column about a week before (and reported by others).

Nate Hoffelder September 18, 2014 um 9:37 am

Yep. I didn’t really believe Amazon would update it. But one of my guesses still came close; it only costs $10 more.

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