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Why Is Amazon's New E-Reader So Damn Expensive?

Who will buy this product?
Michael Cruickshank
Why Is Amazon's New E-Reader So Damn Expensive?© 2017 Amazon

In a world where it possible to buy fully functional Android tablet computers for $100 dollars, it seems like the latest product released by Amazon, is a rather strange bet. The company’s new Kindle Voyage e-Reader is the most ‘luxurious’ product of its category yet, but in order to use it, you have to be prepared to pay the luxury price tag.

Hitting the shelves for a massive $199, the Amazon Voyage eReader is probably the closest you can come with current technology to replicating the look and feel of a book. It features a large 6 inch e-Ink display, which at a pixel density of 300 ppi, is incredibly sharp. The display itself is made of non-reflective, strengthened glass, adding to the overall luxury feel.

The body of the eReader is constructed from a high quality magnesium and features a slight taper towards the back, making it not quite a regular boxy shape. As well as this, the device is incredibly thin, at just 7.6mm and also much lighter for its size than other competing devices. There are also several physical buttons on the back of the device which utilize a pressure sensor in order to easily flip between pages.

Where is the market for this device?

Despite this high quality construction and features, the question need to be asked, “Where is the market for this device?” Other eReaders produced by Amazon and other companies have succeeded by providing a device which is cheaper than a tablet, but has the same ability to browse through and read eBooks. Indeed, attempts by other companies (most notably Sony’s Digital Paper) to create high quality and high price eInk devices have been met by poor sales.

In the end, customers who are going to spend at least $200 on a device to read books, might as well buy a low-end tablet. These devices feature all the same functionality as the Kindle Voyage, as well as a colour screen, better navigation, third party apps, and much more. The only real conceivable advantage of the new Amazon device is battery life, and even with this, it barely justifies the cost.

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