Following the announcement of Amazon’s revamped Kindle lineup, much of the attention has been focused on the upcoming Kindle Fire tablet and Kindle Touch e-reader, and the new, stripped-down Kindle e-reader, which is available now for a rock-bottom $79.
But my experience shopping around for a Kindle this weekend suggested that the older Kindle 3 — now known as the Kindle Keyboard — is in high demand at its new magic price of $99 (the WiFi version with special offers, a.k.a. advertising). After striking out at various Best Buys around the Seattle region, where the devices were out of stock, I ended up having to drive up to to the far reaches of Everett, Wash., to get the last one on the shelf there.
By the way, it was the library lending that finally persuaded me to get a Kindle for my personal use. Yes, I know, I could have just bought it on Amazon, but I had a Best Buy gift certificate that I didn’t want to waste.
At any rate, shortages can result as much from limited supply as from outsized demand, which is what makes this theory unscientific.
But after giving the $79 Kindle a try at some of the stores, I can see why the $99 Kindle Keyboard might be outselling its younger, cheaper cousin.
If you’re going to do any typing at all, (i.e., notes, web browsing, etc.) the virtual keyboard on the $79 Kindle (navigated using the five-way directional pad) is a complete pain in the butt. It was a total deal-breaker for me, and I gladly sacrificed the extra $20 for the physical keyboard.
The Kindle Touch, which comes out Nov. 21, will offer the ability to type on the virtual on-screen keyboard. Hopefully, for the people who’ve preordered, that’s a better experience.