$139 Kindle WiFi = Kindle for Kids?

The new Kindle WiFi comes in at the magical price of $139. The Press are focusing on the effect this will have on people who wouldn’t put up $259 for a dedicated eReader – their theory is that these people didn’t feel reading was worth $259 but will definitely feel its worth $139.

While the ‘reading isn’t worth $259’ people may or may not think reading is worth $139 there is an entire new demographic that will get access to the Kindle WiFi due to its low price – kids.

Kindle WiFi might be the Kindle for Kids

Let’s consider a few scenarios –

  1. You want to get your child to read more. We live in a world where nothing can be proved so we can never prove reading makes children smarter or it improves their grades or it’s a better use of their time than video games. Let’s assume that you think it’s a possibility and want to get your daughter/son to read more – How would you do it?
  2. You’re trying to find a good diversion for your 7-year-old daughter. You have toys and TV and DVDs and games and you can take her to the park but there’s still something missing. What would she enjoy? What would be good for her?
  3. You’re deciding on a birthday gift for your grandson. You’re thinking something around $100 and perhaps it’s an iPod and perhaps it’s something else.  
  4. You’re buying textbooks for your kid and complaining about the prices and weight. You wish the prices were cheaper and your kid didn’t have to carry all the heavy books everywhere.
  5. A school is figuring out its textbook budget. They feel they’re trapped by the textbook companies and ever-changing textbooks and they too are tired of seeing their kids carrying around 25 pounds of textbooks.

We had the Kindle but it was at $259. That’s too expensive for schools’ budgets and too expensive a present for most people. It’s also something you worry about a kid breaking.

The $139 Kindle WiFi solves a lot of that. It’s still breakable – However, $139 isn’t as big a loss and you can definitely trust older kids and more responsible kids with it. At $139 it’s not that far away from $100 and many more people will be buying it as a gift. If it gets your kid into reading it’s priceless. It’s thin and light and easy for kids to carry and use.

You could buy your kid $60 worth of books or a $110 iPod as a gift or you could get her a Kindle WiFi.

Kindle WiFi goes perfectly with Free Books

Lots and lots of what kids read or are asked to read at school fall under the classics umbrella – these are public domain books and we’re spending $20 to $50 a year (perhaps more) buying them.

Get a Kindle WiFi and you get access to 1.8 million public domain books for free. You get 20-40 free book offers a month. You really don’t have to buy your kids many books. There’s a giant heap of books already available for free.

Kindle WiFi can help eliminate the Textbook Mafia

States like California were considering Kindles when they were $259. Now, at $139, the Kindle WiFi is almost irresistable.

We have initiatives for free and cheap textbooks – However, you had to read them on laptops or PCs. Those are neither suitable for reading text nor are they cheap. At $139 the Kindle WiFi is perfect for reading textbooks.

There’ll obviously be people who’ll complain there’s no color and it isn’t as interesting as flying livers singing out their chemical constitution.

Well, do we want to entertain our kids or do we want to educate them?

Besides all the devices with color screens are far too expensive and not focused on reading.

$139 is a magical price point – Kindle WiFi is almost perfect for kids

It’s a mystery why Amazon isn’t targeting kids when there are so many good reasons to –

  1. Parents would much rather buy constructive entertainment devices than video game consoles. Plus kids can use Kindle WiFi for school.
  2. You replace expensive textbooks with cheap Kindles and cheap textbooks.  
  3. No more heavy backpacks.
  4. You inculcate a love of reading at a young age.  
  5. The education market is dying for exactly such a product. At $139 the Kindle WiFi is perfect given the financial environment and the tough budget restrictions schools now have.
  6. Lots of kids who have trouble with reading can benefit from the larger font options and the text to speech.  
  7. The Kindle WiFi can connect to the Internet using school’s WiFi networks. When the Kindle App Store opens we might get apps made specifically for kids.

The one thing Amazon has done that’s great is family sharing of Kindle books. Kids’ Kindle WiFis add on to their parents’ Kindle 3s. The entire family can share books (well, the ones that are safe for kids). You can have multiple family members reading the same book at the same time.

It’s an opportunity just waiting to be taken advantage of – the $139 Kindle WiFi is a near-perfect reading device for kids.

12 thoughts on “$139 Kindle WiFi = Kindle for Kids?”

  1. 100% agree that putting a $139 Kindle into a *responsible* child’s hands will happen.

    If they ever invent a $99 Kindle with crude animation… they’ll sell well for kids. If it is $139 with a ‘ruggedized’ case, it is a certain sell.

    I’m waiting for a ruggedized Kindle for my 2 year old. I’m serious. Now there would need to be ‘a little’ animation and some feedback if she pushes the keys…

    Either Amazon delivers or Leapfrog will. Their Leaptop for kids isn’t an e-reader by any stretch… but I know *dozens* of parents excited to graduate their toddler up to a kiddie friendly book reader that is under $150.

    I agree with your other points. I just want to note you focussed on older kids. With just *a little* animation on the screen (crude and slow), it would draw in new readers (as in stage 1).

    It isn’t a question of if we’ll have a low cost e-reader for kids. I’m just wondering if Leapfrog and FisherPrice might not lead the charge.


  2. I hate the iPad as an ereader for myself. But it actually is very good for kids books. I have several for my 17 month and almost 3 year old nieces. I think that pre-reader books (books targeted at 0-7 year olds) will should focus on ipad. But anyone older than 7 should go to kindle.

  3. The US Government considers textbooks on Kindle a Violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as blind persons do not have equal access.

    “Did you know the Justice Department threatened several universities with legal action because they took part in an experimental program to allow students to use the Amazon Kindle for textbooks?

    It seemed like a promising idea until the universities got a letter from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, now under an aggressive new chief, Thomas Perez, telling them they were under investigation for possible violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

    From its introduction in 2007, the Kindle has drawn criticism from the National Federation of the Blind and other activist groups. While the Kindle’s text-to-speech feature could read a book aloud, its menu functions required sight to operate. ‘If you could get a sighted person to fire up the device and start reading the book to you, that’s fine,’ says Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the federation. ‘But other than that, there was really no way to use it.’ ”

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    1. This is old news. Thanks for the comment but the Kindle 3 has Voice Guide for accessible menus.
      Kindle 2 will probably get it in a software upgrade soon.

      The NFB have commended the Kindle 3 . Asking for braille on the buttons – Don’t know what to say to that. Perhaps at some point you have to start saying – Yes, Amazon is doing a lot. Yes, eReaders are improving things for us too.

  4. The other thing I would want in place before buying one for my daughter would be some parental controls. I would want to make it so she couldn’t buy books (that are then charged to my account) without me needing to enter a password or something. It would help with learning budgeting and not having a surprise charge at the end of a month.

      1. Content controls would be useful in two directions.

        1. A password on the account would allow me to determine what is appropriate for her to have as well as protect her from spending money inappropriately.

        2. Allow me to log into a master account on my PC and decide which books I have purchased can be read on her Kindle. Perhaps I picked up a racy novel and don’t want it auto-shared with her Kindle that is still on my account.

        Either way, it is an awesome idea and is something I have been considering. I’m new to the ebook game though (the K3 will be my first e-ink reader) and I am all aflutter with the possibilities of fostering her desire to read and maybe eventually her textbooks – all on the same device.

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