Welcome to the age of subsidized Kindles.
British wireless retailer Carphone Warehouse is offering free Amazon.com
It will be a great way for Amazon to grow its e-reader's presence overseas, but it's also likely the shape of things to come.
Wireless carriers don't have a problem knocking hundreds off a new cell-phone purchase, knowing they will more than make that back during the course of at least 24 months of service. Why else do you think there are so many "free" phones on the market?
However, the practice of bundling a free e-reader into the subsidization equation is a genius move for Carphone Warehouse in the United Kingdom if the bean-counter math nods along. If someone's in the market for a new phone, snagging a "free" Kindle is a no-brainer.
It's not the way that I drew it out. I figured that it would be newspaper publishers finding a way to push digital long-term subscribers through free e-readers.
I took a look at New York Times
Print publishers need to get on board. The Newspaper Association of America revealed yesterday that newspaper ad sales hit a 25-year low in 2010. The one-two punch of declining circulation rates and marketers' shifting their budgets online is pounding the print publishers to a pulp.
Amazon can also be more proactive. It can't rest on the laurels of the Carphone Warehouse deal, assuming that future bundles elsewhere will involve Kindles. The popularity of Google's
If Amazon and leading digital publishers don't have the vision to pair up quickly, leave it to rival visionaries to beat them to the subsidized punch.
Will we ever see publishers offering fully subsidized Kindles? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Kindle owner since 2008 and an iPad owner since last April. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.