As ebooks grow more popular, will the next Kindle e-reader be free?

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Speculation is growing the next version of Amazon’s e-reader, the Kindle, will be free.

While the Kindle continues to benefit from being significantly cheaper than the iPad and other tablets, the market the reading tool might not be that big after all. Those who want a multi-purpose tablet will buy an iPad or something similar, meaning the Kindle is the choice for the small number of book worms who aren’t that bothered with other tablet functions.

Now rumour has it Amazon may bring out a free Kindle ahead of Christmas, putting it in a better position to compete with the barrage of tablets set to be launched this year. A free Kindle, especially if packaged with some sort discount on books, could be worthwhile for Amazon’s ebook sales.

Year of the ebook?
2011 will be the year of the ebook, Nigel Newton, head of publisher Bloomsbury said yesterday:

“With sales of digital devices such as the Kindle, Nook and iPad growing rapidly, 2011 will clearly be the year of the e-book. We believe that digital publishing creates huge opportunities for Bloomsbury and its authors,” the CEO told the Daily Telegraph as the company announced financial results.

Bloomsbury published nearly 1,800 e-books last year. 40% of Amazon’s new bestseller sales are in e-book format, and Amazon sold 8 million Kindles last year, according to the Daily Telegraph.

ShinyJess

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