Amazon launches free Kindle software for PC

There is a new product on the home page of Amazon.com (AMZN). PC users can now download a free version of Kindle software which allows Kindle users to synchronize the libraries on their Kindle e-readers with their PCs.

The move is a curious one for Amazon, which sells the Kindle for $259. Why give away any related software at all? Amazon has not said, but it is easy to guess.

Some consumer electronics research has shown that the Kindle and other e-readers are priced out of the market for many people. Much of the data from these surveys indicates that people may pay $50 or even $100 for an e-reader, but prices over $200 drive potential users away. Amazon may not be admitting it, but the company knows that the Kindle market is limited because of its price.


Free reader software taps into a customer base that may be in the millions. Amazon's Kindle store sells thousands of books, newspapers, and magazines. Some of these are expensive and probably very profitable; an e-subscription to The New York Times, for example, costs $13.99 a month.

Amazon may not be able to sell millions of Kindles, but by making its e-reader software available for free, it may sell hundreds of millions of e-books.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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