Amazon Announces New Kindle Models

September 12, 2012

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Amazon has refreshed their Kindle lineup.  You can now spending anywhere from $69 to $499 on a Kindle-branded device.  Obviously, with such a spread in price, there are going to be large differences in the actual devices.  $69 gets you the bare bones 6″ model that is (almost) exclusively a reader, and has no color.  The $599 Kindle Fire 4G LTE in 8.9″, full color, 64 GB of storage, and runs on a 4G LTE network.

Reader or Tablet?

I think Amazon made a smart decision when they branded the higher end models Kindle Fire.  This nicely breaks the models into two families.  The Kindle Fires are tablets which run apps and also allow you to read.  The other Kindle models have very limited functionality beyond reading.  Customers will have different preferences.

Let’s take a look at the existing Kindle product line:

Note: prices shown are for the “with special offers” version which inserts advertisements (and coupons) into the screen savers.  These never appear within the text of the book you are reading, just the screen savers.  Many people like them, but for $20 more you can opt for a model that doesn’t have them.

Kindle readers

Kindle (WiFi)
This is the bare bones model.  It’s a basic ebook reader, with access to Amazon’s large collection of books.  It’s a good price for an entry level reader, especially one with the backing of a strong brand.  If all you’re going to do is read, and you’re reading in well-lit areas, this is a good reader for you.
Kindle PaperWhite (WiFi)
The PaperWhite has a higher resolution and contrast than older Kindle, but what really sets it apart is the presence of a built-in light.  This makes the PaperWhite more suitable for bedtime reading if your partner is trying to sleep.A 3G version is available for $179.  This allows you to use Amazon’s free 3G service (as well as WiFi) to download books.  There’s also a rudimentary web browser that you can use in a pinch – it’s OK for some lightweight browsing while you’re killing time at the mall, but it’s not well suited for heavy duty browsing.
Kindle KeyBoard (3G + WiFi)
This is the only Kindle with a physical keyboard.  I have an older version of the Kindle Keyboard (mine has 3G, but not WiFi), and I like the keyboard for my occasional web browsing sessions.  Probably a niche product at this point, although I’m in that niche.


Kindle Fire tablets

Kindle Fire
This is the new and improved version of the original Fire, at a lower price.  7″ display, WiFi, 8 GB of storage, and the ability to add apps.  Oh, and you can read books on it, too.  Inexpensive entry level tablet. I actually just bought a used first edition Kindle Fire myself. Ships Sept 14.
 Kindle Fire HD
The HD has an HD display, Dolby Audio, WiFi, and come in a 16GB model for $199 or a 32 GB model for $249.  Ships September 24.
Fire HD 8.9″
 You can get the HD with a larger screen (8.9″ compared to the standard Fire size of 7″) for $299 (16GB) or $369 (32GB).  Ships November 20.
 Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless
This model is available for $499 (32GB) or $599 (64GB).  They key feature is that it runs on 4G LTE networks (as well as WiFi).  You can buy a year of service from Amazon for $50 (250MB per month).  There are also options to upgrade the plan to 3GB or 5GB per month.  It’s quite possible this cost of the data plan will change in the futue, but $50 for the first year is a steal.  Ships November 20.


Which Amazon Kindle Device Should I Buy?

June 14, 2012

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Note: this article originally ran on September 29, 2011

Yesterday, Amazon announced a new family of Kindle devices, including the Kindle Fire with an advanced web browser and full color screen, the Kindle Touch (obviously, with a touch screen), and a low cost $79 model. It’s mere coincidence that I happened to write about the Kindle for another article that appears on the site today. That article (What I like About My Kindle) was written prior to the Amazon announcements. Let’s take a moment to review the new models.

I listed the prices for the “With Special Offers” and without special offers. For example, the Kindle shows a price of $79 / $109. It’s $79 With Special Offers or $109 without. What are “special offers”? These are offers that appear on the screen saver and home screens of the devices (but not within the text of a book). The “with Special Offers” versions of the devices are $30-$50 less than the standard version. The general consensus seems to be that the deals that appears are good deals (I heard of one person getting a “20% off the purchase of a laptop” deal), so my thought is that most people will want this version. A friend of mine who owns a previous version complained that he couldn’t get Special Offers on his Kindle …

Device Thoughts
Kindle Fire$199 Here you go – a tablet for under $200 that isn’t being discontinued (a la the HP Touchpad). This might not be an iPadkiller, but if you were going to buy a Kindle anyway, it would be tempting to spend the extra money to get this model. Amazon touts their Silk browser as revolutionary and fast – and perhaps it is. They also mention thousands of apps in their App Store – including Angry Birds.The 7″ screen is small than the DX but larger than the other models. The Fire has 8GB of storage, compared to 4GB for the DX, Touch and Keyboard and 2GB for the base model. Any downside to the Fire? Well, it’s only available as a WiFi device. I doubt Amazon will make a 3G option in the near future. Why? Because the Silk browser is going to allow people to view much more rich content than the Experimental Browser on the other Kindle models. That means more bandwidth. With a Wi-Fi connection, this is being provided by your ISP, so Amazon doesn’t care. But if they had a Fire version with free 3G, they’d be footing the bill for the bandwidth. While they’ve been generous so far in allowing free web browsing with the Experimental Browser, I doubt they are anxious to multiply their bandwidth costs by giving free 3G access to Fire owners.Another drawback?? Battery life is much shorter. The Kindle has a listed battery life of 1 month, the Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard two months, the Kindle DX three weeks … and the Kindle Fire 8 hours for continuous reading or 7.5 hours for video playback. Realistically, you can probably stretch the battery life out for a few days, but there’s no escaping the point that the Fire will drain its battery faster than the other devices.Finally, the Fire doesn’t have e-Ink technology (thanks for pointing this out, Evan). e-Ink can display color and doesn’t have fast enough refresh rates for video. Amazon has long trumpeted the readability of e-Ink – will users see a noticeable degradation in readability when they sit down to read War And Peace?
Kindle$79 / $109 It’s the cheapest of the Kindles, weighs the least (5.98 ounces) and has the least storage (2 GB). Having said that, 2G of storage is still a ton if you’re just reading books. Most books are less than 1 MB. If space is an issue, you can always delete the content and re-download later (no additional charge). The cons: there’s no keyboard and no 3G. If you’re also planning to use the device as a portable web device, this could be a show stopper (however, you can probably get a good deal on a previous generation 3G model.For $79, it’s hard to find much fault with this.
Kindle TouchWi-Fi$99 / $1393G

$149 / $189

The Kindle Touch has twice the storage of the basic Kindle (4GB) and twice the battery life (2 months). Obviously, it also has a touch screen.Personally, I don’t really see the appeal of the touch screen if you’re just using the device for reading. The Kindle is a pretty easy device to use. I guess it does remove some mechanical pieces, so maybe these devices would be less subject to breakdown – although I haven’t heard of anyone wearing out the buttons on their Kindle.For $50 more, you can get a 3G model that has free access to Amazon’s Whispernet network. This allows you to download new content from anywhere – but the more important aspect is that it allows you to surf the net with the Kindle’s web browsers (which, admittedly, isn’t the greatest in the world, but gets the job done).The 3G model has both 3G and Wi-Fi.
Kindle KeyboardWi-Fi$99 / $1393G

$139 / $189

This is basically the old Kindle model. The keyboard has a fairly standard layout, and while you’re unlikely to type 100 words per minute on it, it’s serviceable. I’ve used it to leave comments on blogs that I read with the experimental browser. The physical size of the device is a bit larger to accommodate the keyboard.If you’re not planning to use the device for web browsing, then you might not need the keyboard.Once again, the 3G version is available at a higher cost.The 3G model has both 3G and Wi-Fi.
Kindle DX$379 The DX is the most expensive Kindle. The 9.7″ screen is much appreciably larger than the 6″ screen of the Kindle, Kindle Touch, and Kindle Keyboard. Do you want the largest Kindle screen possible, or will you accept (or even prefer) a smaller screen? That’s the big question. Personally, I like the easy portability of the 6″ Kindles but obviously you can display more content on the DX.The DX does have a keyboard. Note that it is 3G only – it does have have Wi-Fi. It always weighs in at a hefty 18.9 ounces.

Is Amazon Prime Worth The Cost?

December 16, 2011

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Eaton's delivery and shipping screen truck

Image via Wikipedia

For those of you that do not know what Amazon Prime is, let me tell you. To be honest, I had no idea what it was until about somewhere around a year ago. At a cost of $79 per year (or $6.58/month for you math junkies), Amazon Prime members enjoy “free 2 day shipping, instant streaming of movies and TV shows, and instant access to thousands of Kindle books”. It truly is what it says, too. As a member I have not noticed any hidden “catches”. The 2 day shipping? It’s really true. In fact, in many cases, you get the package(s) that you ordered the next day. Now, don’t quote me on that because I don’t want any angry readers! But I can’t recall a time where a package did not come within the 2 days, unless the item was on backorder, unavailable, etc.

Free 2 Day Shipping

One of the main reasons we opted to join the Amazon Prime club….for those of you that are frequent Amazon shoppers, you know that to avoid shipping costs your order has to be from Amazon itself (not one of the “sellers” that just sell on Amazon) and also has to be $25.00 or more. In many instances, we found ourselves filling orders to meet the $25.00 requirement and avoid shipping. Why not just pay the shipping? Well, if I’m going to have to pay the extra either way I’d rather actually get something for the extra money, right? Yes, I’m right! So, since joining Amazon Prime, I can’t even imagine how much money we’ve saved from filling orders with stuff that we really weren’t intending to buy. Maybe not a TRUE benefit of the program, but definitely very helpful.

Another very minor (or major, depends on what you think) benefit…..if you’re like me at all, it’s kind of nice to be able to order something and get it within a couple of days, versus waiting 5/7/10 days to receive it. Again, minor, but the somewhat instant gratification of receiving what I ordered that quickly is nice.

For those of you that are rushing out now to join Amazon Prime, be careful. Only products that are Amazon Prime eligible will qualify for the free 2 day shipping. That being said (because I have to say it), in the past several months since joining Amazon Prime I have yet to come across an item that I wanted to order and it was NOT “Prime” eligible. So don’t let that stop you from joining. In fact, they have a free one month trial of the program. We did it, and that’s what got us hooked. It’s a way to verify that everything I’m telling you is in fact true.

Free Video Streaming

I spent a lot of words on the shipping aspect alone, because that is the greatest benefit for me. They do have unlimited instant videos and movies. This is secondary to me because the movie selection is nothing like what you’d find on Netflix or in the video store – it’s just a subset of the entire Amazon Instant Video collection.

The streaming includes a lot of older movies, but nothing of the new release nature. They also include a decent selection of TV shows, but again, nothing that is extremely new.  One thing I’ve noticed is that they include the first few seasons of a show, but not the later seasons.  It seems like they’re trying to get you hooked on a show, then charge you to get the later seasons – a pretty smart strategy.

The movie/show playback and video quality is good … not great, but not horrible either.  You do need a compatible device in order for the streaming to work.  You can read more details about the program here.

I just don’t see the movies/shows library as the main reason for somebody to join.  Nonetheless, it’s a nice bonus if you were going to join Prime anyway.

Borrow Kindle Books for Free

Amazon recently added a Prime feature that benefits Kindle owners.  You can borrow one book per month from the Amazon Owners’ Lending Library for free.  This is similar to the feature of being able to borrow books from your local library, except that there’s no due date.  You can keep a book for a year if you want … but you can only check out one book at a time (and a maximum of one per month), so you can’t borrow another one until you return the one you have borrowed.

The lending library is a subset of the entire Kindle eBook collection, but just on the teaser page, I see recognizable names such as Michael Lewis, Suzanne Collins, and Stephen Covey.  Don’t worry – the authors (and publishers) are being paid.  Amazon is creating a pool of money each month, and this will be split based on how many times a book is borrowed.  If The Cell Window is borrowed as often as Moneyball, Kosmo will get as much money as Michael Lewis (and his publisher).

Like streaming, it’s probably not worth it to join Prime just to take advantage of the ability to borrow Kindle books – but it’s a nice added feature.

Worth the cost?

So, is Amazon Prime worth the $79/year? Yes, it definitely is. But, to prove that to yourself, join the club for a month for free and see for yourself. You’ll be happy you did.

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Friday Roundup

October 21, 2011

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No new episode of Treasure Hunt today.  My creative energies have been diverted elsewhere this week.  A secret project is underway – more about that next week (hopefully).

If you’re thinking of buying a Kindle, check out my review from a couple of weeks ago.  I touch on the pros and cons of each model.  What’s great for you might not be a good fit for someone else.  If you like the article and decided to take the plunge, consider buying through the links on the site – we’ll earn a small commission on the sale.

You can now check out Kindle books at many public libraries.  Check out this feature!  I’ve been making slow progress on the print edition of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and downloaded the Kindle version from my library.  You can’t use 3G to download, needing instead to use either WiFi or USB to transfer the book.  Nonetheless, a cool feature.

This is article 1002 for The Soap Boxers.  Want to see them all?  Explore the archives.

The World Series is underway.  It’s currently tied at one game apiece, with the Cardinals taking game one and the Rangers game two.  A huge play in game two occurred when Elvis Andrus moved to second base on  slightly errand throw.  Albert Pujols touched the throw from the outfield ever so slightly, slowing its path to catcher Yadier Molina and making it impossible for Molina to cut down Andrus as he tried to advance.  As a result, the double play was no longer in order.  Making the situation even worse for the Cardinals, Andrus moved to third on a the run-scoring sacrifice fly by Josh Hamilton.  Had he been at first base when Hamilton came to bat, he would have been unable to advance on the fly, and the throw from right field to second base is much shorter than the throw to third.

Last Saturday, Chad Dawson scored a controversial TKO in a boxing match against light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins.  The key sequence in the match involved Dawson lifting Hopkins into the air and throwing him to the canvas.  An injured Hopkins was unable to continues and the bout was called.  On Tuesday, the WBC declared the match a technical draw and reinstated Hopkins as the champion (the reigning champion must LOSE in order to lose his belt; he retains the title in the case of a draw).  This is an interesting – and seemingly correct – decision.  I’m not much of a boxing fan, but find it interesting to see the result of a contest changed after the fact.  This simply doesn’t happen in team sports.

As a lover of Tigers, I was saddened by the shooting of 49 animals – including 18 Bengal tigers – after their owner opened their cages and committed suicide.  I fully understand the decisions that authorities were faced with, and can’t fault them for their choice.  I place the blame on the owner, Terry Thompson, who put the animals in danger by released them.  Thompson had been convicted of animal cruelty in the past.  While the Bengal Tiger is the most common of the Tiger subspecies, there are fewer than 2500 of them in the world, and the death of 18 in one event is a blow to conservation efforts.

On Thursday, we heard reports that Libyan leader Gadhafi (Qaddafi) was killed in a crossfire between his troops and those of the National Transitional Council.  His death ends a 42 year reign over the African country.  Observers wonder if this will embolden rebels in other countries, such as in Yemen, where rebels have called for the resignation of president Ali Abdullah Saleh.  For some interesting insights into Libyan/American relations, I’d suggest Nelson DeMille’s novel, The Lion’s Game.  It’s fiction, of course, so you can’t treat it like a history book (although many of those books indeed contain fiction), but it’s an entertaining introduction to the culture.

What I like About My Kindle

September 29, 2011

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In the span of about a year, I’ve gone from thinking I would never use an e-Reader to being an owner of a Kindle.  Much of this was spurred by the ease of deploying Kindle books.  I currently have 3 Kindle books listed on Amazon – perhaps it was time to take the plunge myself?

In July, I bought a Kindle.  At the time, I thought it was a second hand model.  It turns out that I was actually the third owner of the device.  It was a second generation model, but this didn’t bother me much.  The third generation models have more storage space, but if you run out of space on a Kindle, you have a serious reading problems (also, you can always delete and re-download).  Sure, the new generation had the sexy new version of e-Ink, but I decided to be economical and went the used route.

What do I like so far?

Experimental Web Browser

OK, so it’s the tail wagging the dog.  The Kindle’s browser is not going to put the iPad or Android tablets to shame.  If you have a smart phone, your experience will probably be better on your phone.  But for those of us who pass up smart phones for reasons of economy and battery life, the Kindle is a serviceable option.  Currently, Kindles that use 3G allow you to surf the web with no monthly fee.  That could change at any time, but it’s a nice fringe benefit.

The Classics are Free

I loaded the Kindle up with Dracula, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Count of Monte Cristo, and much more.  All for the price of NOTHING.  There are a couple of organization who are working to make public domain works available for Kindle.  This list will get you started, or you can go to Project Gutenberg for an easy-to-browse selection.  During this process, I came to the startling conclusion that  Daphne Du Maurier’s works are not in the public domain – for some reason, I thought she was born much earlier than she actually was.

Exclusive Content

My favorite author, Lawrence Block, began releasing short stories and novellas for bargain basement prices.  Many of these had not seen the light of day in many years, while other had been included in his omnibus Enough Rope.  He even cobbled together the after words from his books into Afterthoughts.  I’m not sure how many people would storm the doors of a store to pay $19.99 for a hardcover version of Afterthoughts, but at 99 cents, it’s hard to pass up (and Block will surely reap profits as people realize that there are several of his books they have neglected to read.

I Read More

I seem to be reading more since I bought the Kindle.  Part of that is the fact that I’m reading Block, whom I’ve always found hard to put down.  Then again, I’m reading the dead-tree edition of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, and I also am entranced by Stieg Larsson.  Perhaps it’s the fact that the Kindle is a one handed device, while it’s a bit awkward to read a book with one hand.

Those concerns I had about battery life?  Completely unfounded.  I probably charge once a week, just to make sure I don’t run out of battery power – but I’ve never had the Kindle below half.

What About You?

Have I sold you on the Kindle?  Swing over the Kindle Store at Amazon, where you can buy a Kindle and fill it with eBooks in time for the cold of winter.

Inside Kosmo’s Life

July 26, 2011

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As usual, I’m juggling a lot of balls at the moment. That tends to be par for the course these days.

Amazon Associates

One of the more interesting – and profitable – ventures stemmed from Amazon’s recent decision to sever ties with California residents who were members of the Amazon Associates affiliate program. A lot of people took a financial hit when this happened. Previously, they were making commissions when they referred sales to Amazon. This revenue dropped to zero. This has happened in several other states, but I personally knew some people who were affected in California.

My simple solution to this problem is to have a middleman from a non-affected state step into the middle. Let’s call this person “Kosmo”. Kosmo provides new tracking IDs to the affected people that are tied to his account and then replace the old ids with the new ones (this only takes a few minutes for an entire site). Amazon then pays Kosmo, who then takes a cut and passed on the lion’s share of the money to the site owner. This creates two separate relationships. Amazon no longer has a direct relationship with the site owner.

Interested in knowing more details? Email me at

The Cell Window – Kindle version

I’m very happy to announce the release of The Cell Window for Kindle.  This is one of my all-time favorite stories, and probably the one that took the most work – requiring six weeks to complete the 10,000 word tale.  This is the story of Duncan, a tech-savvy voyeur who invades the lives of his employer’s customers.  I distributed free copies of this story to a lot of my friends, and it tended to evoke a reaction from everyone.  My friend Jaylene commented that if I weren’t married, she’d be a bit freaked out to be around me.  (I guess all the weirdos are single people?).  You really SHOULD find the story a bit disturbing.

You can buy the story on Amazon for 99 cents or you can be a big spender on pony up $3.79 for my short story collection Mountains, Meadows, and Chasms, which also contains the story (along with 73 other stories).

If you buy either book, please leave a review when you are finished.  All I ask is that you be honest with your feedback.

Other writing

I’ve been renting myself out in recent weeks in an effort to keep the lights on at Hyrax Publications.  You’ll be able to see articles on financial and insurance topics over at The Digerati Life.  At this point, I’m not looking for any additional work in that arena, but I am entertaining any offers to do some freelance short fiction.

I’m also making an effort to kick-start my novel, which has been laid aside a bit to make time to chase after young kids.  (I should clarify that.  I’m referring to my own kids.)

The book will be a nice little serial killer novel.  I’m starting basically from scratching, putting aside about 8000 words that I had written previously.  I’ve circulated the newly written prologue to a few trusted friends, and it has received very positive reviews.  Now I just need to write the rest of the book …  I’d love to finish by some time in 2012.  It’s going to be a ton of work (and require a fair amount of research), but it should be a lot of fun).

I Bought A Kindle

July 13, 2011

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I recent bought a Kindle.  As some of you know, I’ve long been a proponent of printed books and have resisted to urge to jump to e-readers.  Why the change of heart?

  • The battery life issue is not as much of a concern as I would have thought.  I was under the false impression that battery life would be measured in hours or maybe a day or two.  In actuality, battery life is measured in weeks.
  • Although I feel that a lot of the eBooks are priced too high in comparison to the corresponding printed version, there’s one genre where this isn’t true: public domain works.  You can download the works of Shakespeare, Milton, Verne and countless others for free!
  • It’s not just an e-reader.  Until recently, I wasn’t aware of the fact that the Kindles have a built-in web browser.  I’m told that this is clunky but functional.  That’s fine for me.  I don’t own a smart phone, so it will be nice to have a book that doubles as a web browser when I’m, stuck in a waiting room for hours.  If you have a 3G version, you get free access to the internet when you’re traveling.  Amazon does reserve the right to charge for “excessive use”, which does make some sense – I’m sure they’re paying a pretty penny to have this service provided to Kindle users.  On the other hand, it makes it easier for people to buy more books.
  • Not only can you borrow Kindle books from your friends, you’ll soon be able to check them out from the library, too.  In the near future, Amazon will be working with Overdrive to deploy this functionality.  The Nook (a Kindle competitor) currently allows checkouts from libraries.

I’ve been slowly coming around to the idea of buying a Kindle for the last few months.  I told myself that I’d wait until I’d earned enough money from my web endeavors to pay for one – at the time, this would have taken quite a while.

Recently, however, this changes.  I lined up a freelance gig that will bring in a bit of money.  At that point, I started looking around at Kindles.

Shortly thereafter, a friend mentioned that he had a Kindle that he was looking to sell.  It was a Kindle 2 (the current model is a 3), but had built in 3G (only available in the pricier versions of the Kindle 3.  We struck a deal, and the K2 should be arriving before long.

Should I buy a Kindle?

April 16, 2011

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I’ve long been a champion of traditional paper and ink books.  Among the benefits I always mention is the availability of cheap used book and the low risk of loss.  Ebooks (specifically Kindle) are priced competitively with other new editions of books, but more expensive than a dog-eared copy from a used bookstore (not to mention the feeling of poking around for treasures in a book store).

However, I feel myself tugged a bit in the direction of the Kindle these days.  It all really started when I published my first book of short stories for the Kindle.  Without much work, I could make Mountains, Meadows, and Chasms available to the world – at a price point ($3.49) that made it affordable for nearly anyone, while also netting me a fair commission.  Then there’s the availability of free public domain works.  Getting the classic for free would be a good deal.  Kindle users can also lend books to each other for 14 days – and interesting way to read for free.

I’m not quite convinced yet, but I’m on the fence.  We’ll see what the future holds.  Now, let’s take a look at the various version of the Kindle now available (yes, yes, there will be affiliate links at the end of the article).

Kindle DX – The most expensive Kindle has a 9.7″ screen within WiFi and 3G that works globally.  The downside is the price tag.  $379.  Are you freaking kidding me?  If I’m going to spend that sort of money for an e-reader, I’d pony up a few extra dollars for a 1st generation iPad.  Even the lowest end iPad would give you 16 GB of memory compared to the Kindle’s 4 GB, and the screen is also 9.7″.  Install the free Kindle reader application, and you can use it as a Kindle – but also have the added functionality of a full-function tablet (although you do take a hit in battery life).  So I’ll cross the DX off my list … and also ignore the possibility of an iPad.

Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi – The price tag drops to $189 and the screen size is cut down to 6″ (we’re talking diagonal, so this is half the size of the 9.7″).  Here we come across a $50 question – do I NEED 3G?  Probably not.  It’s extremely rare that I’m outside the range of a WiFi network for an extended period of time – and I could plan in advanced to have a few spare books on the kindle.  Cross this one off the list.

Kindle Wi-Fi –  At $139, this is the first model that’s within the realm of possibility.  Pricey, but worth it?  I’m going to say “no” for now, but revisit the situation if The Soap Boxers starts generating decent revenue.  I’d also like to see the price drop below $100 – which might happen at some point in the year.  I’ll keep my eye on this one.

Kindle Wi-Fi with Special Offers –  This is the newest Kindle offering.  It’s basically identical to the $139 Kindle Wi-Fi, but is priced at $114.  The catch?  It will feature advertising and special offers on the bottom of the main screen on on the screen saver (but NOT embedded within the text of a book).  I see this as an interesting option.  For customers who don’t want the ads, they can pay $139 for the standard Kindle Wi-Fi.  For those who don’t mind the ads – or even those who WANT to get the special offers Amazon will send them, it’s a good deal.  Personally, I probably wouldn’t go for this model.  You save $25, but over life of the product, this breaks down to a few pennies per day.  That’s a slam dunk deal for Amazon – an amazingly cheap captive audience.

Make the ad-supported Kindle FREE, and you might get my attention.  This might sound like a ridiculous idea, but Amazon would greatly expand the customer base for the ads – and also the customer base for the bread-and-butter product, the eBooks.  Free Kindles in 2012?  Don’t be surprised.

Kindle owners – any thoughts to share with us?