Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tech Column: Amazon's Kindle Can Save You Money

by Bill Adler

How can buying a Kindle save you money? Hold on and I'll tell you. This won't take long. 

If you have Amazon Prime membership and a Kindle, you can now borrow a book a month for free. 

Amazon Prime is Amazon's $79 a year membership ($39/year for students) that gives you free 2-day shipping (and overnight shipping for only $3.99), unlimited movie streaming (like Netflix's movie streaming), and now a book a month for free.

Let's do that little math now: If you ordinarily you buy a hardcover a month at $15: that's $180 spent a year on books. 

Add the cost of a Kindle, $79, , to the cost of Amazon Prime membership, also $79, and that equals $158. Right off the bat, you've saved $22 the first year -- a hardcover book and a Starbuck's coffee for free. The following year, if you continue to read a hardcover a month, you've saved $101. (Hardcover book prices vary, of course. Some are closer to $20. But even paperbacks can be expensive.)

Toss in free shipping and free movies and it's an even greater deal. Free movies -- that's worth repeating. 

Amazon's lending library only works on Kindles -- not PCs, iPads, or other devices. (Amazon may be crazy, but they're not stupid.) You can only have one ebook out at a time and only borrow a book a month. And, of course, you can buy as many books as you want, which isn't a bad thing either, because Kindle books are less expensive than books made from paper. 

Kindles, and the new superbly reviewed Kindle Fire, an iPad rival, come in three flavors:

$79 Kindle: 

$99 Kindle Touch: 

$199 Kindle Fire: 

Here's the really interesting part: If you already own an iPad and read a lot, as I do, it makes economic sense to buy a $79 Kindle and use that for your once-a-month free book. Does Amazon rock or what?


Bill Adler is the co-publisher of the Cleveland Park Listserv, He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," . He tweets at @billadler. 

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