Amazon'south latest Kindle mostly wants to disappear

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 4:14 PM

The e-commerce giant'south latest Kindle is its smallest and lightest yet. But it'south also the most expensive, at $290 — nearly a hundred bucks more than the current champ, the $200 Kindle Voyager.

Amazon'south latest Kindle mostly wants to disappear

Will faithful fans of e-books be willing to pay tablet prices for committed e-readers? Amazon is about to find out.

The e-commerce giant'south latest Kindle is its smallest and lightest yet. But it'south also the most expensive, at $290 — nearly a hundred bucks more than the current champ, the $200 Kindle Voyager. Presently the company is betting that its sleek frame and a cover that doubles as a rechargeable battery will invite committed e-book users to its eighth generation device, called the Kindle Oasis.

Amazon says the new Kindle is thirty % thinner and twenty % lighter than previous Kindles. It'south also asymmetrical, with a grip on one side for one-handed reading. (Lefties can just flip the device over.)

The company'south goal? "To create the device disappear," said Neal Lindsay, vice president of Amazon Devices, so that people can read without distraction.

The e-reader landscape has experienced a few plot twists since Amazon introduced the first Kindle in two thousand-seventh. Sales surged for a few years, but started leveling off around two thousand twelve as e-readers grew more commonplace. They even dipped slightly in two thousand-thirteenth but then rose 3.8 % to $3.37 billion dollars in two thousand-fourteenth, according to the most recent stats available from the Organization of American Publishers.

Although the market has matured, it'south still a growing category for Amazon year-over-year, the company says. (It doesn't, though, release sales figures.) Meanwhile, Amazon has launched several other devices, including its Kindle Fire tablets, Fire TV streaming adhere and set top box, and the Echo smart speaker.

But committed e-readers assistance drive e-book sales at Amazon, which publishes many itself via Kindle Direct Publishing. They can also draw people to other goods and deals on Amazon, including its Prime membership program.

"If you choose up a Kindle and read a book, eventually that may translate into watching Prime instant videos, joining Prime, or buying a physical book," said R. W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian.

Love previous Kindles, the Oasis features a black-and-white screen designed to create reading easier. It features two batteries — one in the e-reader and another in its cover — which together stretch the battery life to nine weeks of "regular" reading (thirty minutes a day by Amazon'south definition) or months on standby. The Oasis and its cover charge simultaneously via one port.

You might ponder why Amazon keeps making more expensive Kindles, given that they do a lot less than the average tablet. In essence, they're intended to hold a demanding bunch happy.

E-reader users are on their devices four to five hours a week on average, said Peter Hildrick-Smith, president of the consulting firm Codex. They're distant more committed than tablet readers, who only manage about an hr a week.

With e-readers love the Oasis, Amazon is "looking to hold their e-reading on the cutting edge," Hildrick-Smith said. "What it'south not doing is appealing to people who aren't already reading e-books."

Global preorders for the Oasis start Wednesday; the device will ship on April twenty-seven. Amazon is still selling its basic Kindle for $80, the Kindle Paperwhite with a high resolution display and adjustable front light for $120, and the Kindle Voyage with page press buttons for $200.

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