Here come the free Kindles … at least in the U.K.

Amazon.com has started to give away free Kindles to customers in the United Kingdom who purchase a mobile handset through Carphone Warehouse. It’s an interesting (yet expected) marketing strategy for the online retailer to get its electronic reading device in the hands of more customers.

paidContent reports that customers who buy a two-year wireless phone plan in conjunction with selected handsets at Carphone Warehouse will be able to get a free Wi-Fi Kindle. (The 3G model costs £15).

So, how long before we see similar deals in the U.S.?

There’s certainly been some speculation about free Kindles.  Just last week, Madrona Venture Group’s Scott Jacobson, a former member of the Kindle team, speculated in a post on GeekWire that Amazon.com could start giving away the device. (Jacobson thinks Amazon may give Kindles to those customers who sign up for the Amazon.com Prime shipping service).

Amazon is fighting hard to keep its Kindle relevant, especially as new tablet computers come onto the scene. (Including the recent buzz over Apple’s iPad 2).

As part of that effort, Amazon recently announced that it would start selling Kindles through AT&T stores.

According to IDC, Amazon.com’s Kindle accounted for 48 percent of the worldwide e-reader market at the end of last year.

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire, a technology news site based in Seattle. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews.
  • http://www.puzzazz.com Roy Leban

    In addition to the AT&T stores, Kindles are already available at Staples and, more surprisingly, the Microsoft Store — the sales staff in the Bellevue Square store was very knowledgeable about them.

  • http://twitter.com/danshapiro Dan Shapiro

    Kevin Kelly projected the Kindle as being free in November:
    http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2011/02/free_kindle_thi.php
    Looks like he was late!