Refurbished Kindle DX at $299

In the wake of the release of the new Kindle DX 2 at $379 Amazon have dropped the price of the refurbished Kindle DX to $299.

It’s certainly worth considering since for $80 less you get pretty much the same features with the exception of the improved screen contrast of the new Kindle DX 2.

Refurbished Kindle DX vs Kindle DX 2

Here are the differences between the two -

  1. The new Kindle DX 2 has 50% better screen contrast. It also comes in Graphite casing which helps - The screen of the Kindle DX 2 contrasts very nicely with the graphite casing and that in turn helps the dark text stand out even better. The combination of better screen contrast and the graphite casing results in great readability and is the important (and only) improvement in the new Kindle DX 2.
  2. The new Kindle DX 2 is new while the refurbished Kindle DX is, well, refurbished. 
  3. The refurbished Kindle DX is $80 cheaper which is quite significant.

Those are the major differences. Both of them get all the Kindle Store and Kindle eco-system benefits. They’ll also probably have the same software features. Additionally, both of them will have Free Global Wireless.

Personally, the screen contrast and the effect of the graphite casing seems worth the extra $80 though you could get a $10 to $15 dark colored skin to go with the white refurbished Kindle DX and get some of the benefit of having a graphite casing.

Refurbished Kindle DX vs Refurbished Kindle DX US

This is a much more interesting comparison since they are both refurbished and the price difference is just $50.   

  1. The Refurbished Kindle DX US is just $249 which is $50 cheaper.  
  2. The Refurbished Kindle DX Global gets free 3G wireless outside the US and runs on AT&T while the refurbished Kindle DX US only gets free wireless inside the US and works on Sprint.
  3. The refurbished Kindle DX has improvements in the screen and in the speed of refreshes – it does have better screen contrast than the US version. The software upgrades have made the refurbished Kindle DX US faster but it’ll probably still be slower than the Global version.

In most other ways they are the same. They both get the Kindle Store and get to share their books with Kindle Apps and with Kindles and with each other. They also have the same 9.7″ eInk screen.

With the new Kindle DX 2 at $379, the $249 refurbished Kindle DX US, and the $299 refurbished Kindle DX there are now a multitude of choices - You have to wonder when the Kindle DX Global will drop from its current $379 price.

Refurbished Kindle DX US at $249 again

Last time the Refurbished Kindle DX US was at $249 for only a few hours before it was re-priced to $349. Get yours soon if you’re interested – it seems to only ship to US addresses.

Kindle DX 2 Vs Refurbished Kindle DX US – The Differences

Here are the main differences between the two -

  1. Refurbished Kindle DX US is at $249 (for the moment) while the new Kindle DX 2 is at $379. That’s a $130 price difference.  
  2. The refurbished Kindle DX US is not brand new.
  3. The Kindle DX 2 will have much better screen contrast and be more responsive. The Kindle DX Global had better screen contrast than the Kindle DX US and the Kindle DX 2 has 50% better contrast than the Kindle DX Global so there should be a significant difference between the Kindle DX 2 and the refurbished Kindle DX US.
  4. Refurbished Kindle DX US  uses Sprint’s network while the kindle dx 2 uses AT&T.
  5. Kindle DX 2 has global free 3G while Refurbished Kindle DX US only has free 3G wireless in the USA - Outside the US you will have to browse the Kindle Store on your PC and download books to PC and then transfer to your refurbished kindle dx US.

A $130 price difference is sizeable and the difference in screen contrast will be sizeable too. It’s a pretty tough decision.

Refurbished Kindle DX US Vs Kindle DX 2 – The Similarities

You get most of the Kindle value proposition with both –  

  1. Access to the Kindle eco-system, the Kindle Store, and all the Kindle Apps and features. 
  2. They both have a great, large 9.7″ eInk screen – with the qualifier that the Kindle DX 2 will have much better screen contrast and probably faster screen refreshes.
  3. Free wireless downloads, free wireless store browsing, and Free Internet Access in the US.
  4. They both get all the Kindle 2.5 features like Folders, supersized fonts, social features, and password protection.
  5. They both have decent PDF support with pan and zoom and show PDFs correctly with great support for showing tables and illustrations and formatting correctly. Notes and highlights and text to speech in PDFs is not supported. You can convert PDFs to Kindle format to get these features.  
  6. Lots of great features like Read To Me (sometimes Publishers disable this for their books), built-in dictionary, Search, and support for background music and audiobooks.
  7. They both get the software improvements Amazon has made since the launch of the Kindle DX.
  8. They both come with a 1 year limited Amazon warranty and a 30 day return policy. You can buy an extended 2 year warranty for both.
  9. No computer required when in the US. Outside the US you need a computer to add more books to the refurbished kindle dx US though you can use the new Kindle DX 2 without a computer.

Overall the refurbished Kindle DX US is a great value if the screen contrast is enough for you and you don’t travel outside the US much.

Refurbished Kindle DX US drops to $249, back to $349

Update – Price is up to $349.

The Refurbished Kindle DX US is now just $249. This is a super impressive price.

Update: Amazon doesn’t seem to be willing to ship this to Canada or UK so it might be a US only deal.

It also brings up a lot of questions -

  1. How can they afford to sell it for just $249?
  2. Did they have a lot of stock left over from 2009?
  3. Did the Kindle DX not sell much last year? Or is it that there were a lot of returns last year.
  4. How can they have enough Kindle DXes to sell given new US ones are no longer being sold and presumably there are little to no returns.
  5. What does this do to the used Kindle DX market?
  6. Will the refurbished Kindle DX global edition also see a price drop from $369? 
  7. What about the Kindle DX itself – Why is it still at $489?
  8. Why is this limited to the US?
  9. Why the huge drop from $349 (or was it $329) to $249?

It’s amazing to think that a few days ago you had to pay $259 for a Kindle 2 and today you can get a refurbished Kindle DX US for just $249.

$249 Refurbished Kindle DX US strongly hints at Kindle DX 2 being around the corner

There’s no way to rationalize a half-price refurbished Kindle DX. Yes, it’s the US version – but if you don’t travel much that’s not an issue. Also, it isn’t that hard to download books via PC if travelling internationally.

Amazon are probably clearing out their stock of the Kindle DX US . They are probably also trying out different prices to figure out the price at which they can sell their existing stock of Kindle DXes (both US and Global). We might soon see the refurbished Kindle DX Global at lower prices. 

What possible need would there be to do all this other than to prepare for a Kindle DX 2 that is better and possibly cheaper?

How soon before it sells out?

Absolutely no idea – it’d be better to get it sooner rather than later. At $249 it’s an absolute steal – especially if you’re in the US. You get a 9.7″ screen, you get free wireless downloads and free wireless Internet, and you get all the benefits of the Kindle ecosystem.

Plus you can read all the Kindle books you already have on it. Perfect for buying it for a family member. If the $249 refurbished Kindle DX US seems appealing – make a decision quickly. At this price it wouldn’t be a surprise if it sells out rather quickly.

Kindle DX and Value for Money

Addressed this to an extent in the Kindle DX Review 2010 post. However, it merits a post of its own as it’s a very nuanced subject.

What value does the Kindle DX provide?

Let’s start with the value that the Kindle DX provides -

  1. A 9.7″ eInk screen which provides as much space for words as a hardcover.
  2. An eInk screen that is great for reading and easy on the eyes. 
  3. Access to the Kindle Store - the widest range of new books, the best prices on books (except for Agency Model books which are priced the same everywhere). 
  4. Access to the Kindle Platform and Whispernet – which means 60 second downloads, free Internet and Wikipedia in over 100 countries, your notes and books are backed-up in the Cloud, your place in the book and notes and highlights and bookmarks are synchronized across your Kindles and Kindle Apps, and you get access to other features.  
  5. Great re-sale value. Used Kindle DXes are going for $415 (though they might drop as refurbished Kindle DXes are now $399 and $349. Used Kindle DXes of the US only variety are going for $374 (these prices should drop too).
  6. Amazon keeps adding updates and adding to the value of the Kindle DX. Additions have included better battery life and the upcoming Kindle 2.5 update will add folders and social features.  
  7. Lots of font options including 2 new font sizes debuting in the Kindle 2.5 update. 
  8. Accelerometer powered screen rotation.
  9. Access to all the Kindle Apps – Read your Kindle books across most of your devices including PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry.

The amount of value provided is very high and Amazon keep adding to the value proposition. The question is whether this amount of value justifies the price of the Kindle DX.

Is the Kindle DX worth $489?

In my Kindle DX Review, 2010 edition, gave the Kindle DX only a 5 on 10 on value for money and there are three main reasons for this -

  1. The Kindle DX has not seen a price cut since its release in mid 2009. More on this in the next section. 
  2. The Kindle 2 at $189 provides a lot more value for money. The iPad at $499 also provides more value for money though it isn’t optimized for reading and thus caters to a different audience.
  3. Kindle DX is priced for perfection – yet it isn’t perfect. Take the stunted keyboard for example – Paying $489 for a device ought to mean that the keyboard is a work of art. The Kindle DX got a 7.75 stars out of 10 rating which suggests a price closer to $350 (at most $375) would be appropriate.

While Amazon has cut the price of the Kindle 2 relentlessly and improved the Kindle service and platform and software continuously the Kindle DX has only seen the latter set of improvements – it hasn’t benefited from any price cuts and thus the value for money it provides doesn’t compare with the Kindle 2.

No, the Kindle DX is not worth $489. It wasn’t worth that much to begin with and the price definitely should have come down with time.

Why has the Kindle DX’s price not come down from its initial price of $489?

There are a lot of possibilities here.

The major one is that not enough Kindle DXes have been sold to hit economies of scale. Last year a rough analysis had shown that there are probably 4 to 5 Kindle 2s being sold for every Kindle DX. This year, looking at reviews, you might surmise that the ratio is closer to 9:1 or 10:1 and you might not be far off.  

If there are millions of Kindle selling there might be only hundreds of thousands of Kindle DXes selling and that would mean eInk and Amazon haven’t hit the economies of scale that would allow them to cut the price by $100 to $150.

A very rough ratio is 1 review per 100 devices sold and by that measure there ought to be 161,000 Kindle DXes in circulation. Definitely not enough to result in a large cut in prices. It’s also worth keeping in mind that with larger screens the probability of failures goes up drastically. The Kindle DX screen provides 2.5 times the screen area of the Kindle screen and the ratio of screen prices might be that or even higher.

There are a few other possibilities -

  1. Amazon want to keep a high-end model. Position it as the luxury eReader. 
  2. Amazon want to build a textbook eReader at that price point and don’t want to train users to expect a $300 textbook eReader.
  3. This is the model on which Amazon make profits and compensate for lower profits on the Kindle 2.  

These are all guesses though – the only logical reason for the higher price of the Kindle DX is that the screen and components are more expensive. Amazon is not a company scared of cutting product prices.

Are the Refurbished Kindle DXes better value for money?

Yes and No.

  1. At $399 the Refurbished Kindle DX is still not adequate value for money. It is, however, a slightly better option than buying a new Kindle DX. 
  2. At $349 the refurbished Kindle DX US is good value for money. Of course, if you travel outside the US then it won’t fit your needs.

So the move by Amazon to introduce refurbished kindle dx options is a very good one. Here are the prices they should consider -

  • $369 for a new Kindle DX.
  • $329 for a refurbished Kindle DX. They are at $399 now which is an improvement over $399.
  • $299 or $319 for a refurbished Kindle DX US. They are at $349 now so not far off.

Of course, my analysis might be grossly underestimating the price of the Kindle DX components, especially the screen, and there isn’t any large screen eReader that has come in at a reasonable price. Perhaps a lot of the blame goes to eInk. Truth is eReaders are competing with LCD screens and if they can’t get eInk prices down they need to go with new technology like Mirasol or Pixel Qi.

Refurbished Kindle DX $399, Refurbished Kindle DX US $349

Amazon adds to its refurbished kindle dx range and users now have two options -

  1. Refurbished Kindle DX (Kindle DX International) for $399.  
  2. Refurbished Kindle DX US for $349. That’s a $50 price drop from the earlier $399.

Let’s look at whether these are good options.

Is a Refurbished Kindle DX worth $399?

Perhaps.

There are significant pros -

  1. It’s $90 cheaper than a new Kindle DX. 
  2. You get free store browsing, 60 second downloads, and free Internet and Wikipedia browsing in 100+ countries around the world.
  3. You get access to the Kindle Store and all the Kindle Apps.
  4. The Kindle DX is a pretty good device – check out my Kindle DX Review for further details.
  5. You get a really big, very readable, easy on the eyes, 9.7″ eInk screen.
  6. You get the upcoming Kindle 2.5 release which has lots of good features including Folders and larger font sizes.
  7. It has good resale value – used Kindle DXes are selling for $415. Perhaps a refurbished, used Kindle DX would get a decent price.

There are also significant cons -

  1. Even at $399 it isn’t very good value for money. 
  2. It is a refurbished Kindle DX.
  3. There’s the possibility that a Kindle DX 2 is just around the corner.
  4. A used, refurbished Kindle DX will not be as easy to sell as a used, new Kindle DX.
  5. The Kindle DX might be too big for you i.e. holding it and carrying it and storing it are all inconvenient when compared with the Kindle 2.

A $399 Refurbished Kindle DX is not an easy decision. If it were $349 or so then it would be a solid Yes. Which brings us to the other refurbished Kindle DX.

Is a Refurbished Kindle DX US worth $349?

Yes, it certainly seems that way.

You get all the benefits mentioned above except the free Internet and 60 second downloads only work inside the US. Outside the US you have to depend on a PC to get books on your refurbished Kindle DX.

The price is $140 cheaper than a new Kindle DX International. The resale value might be pretty good as used Kindle DX US versions are going for $374. Refurbished, used ones will obviously go for a little less – However, that $374 price ought to be pretty reassuring. 

All the cons apply too – except that at $349 the Refurbished Kindle DX US seems like very solid value for money.

Does this signal a Kindle DX 2 is on the way?

It’s just too much of a coincidence that -

  1. Refurbished Kindle 2 International and Refurbished Kindle DX International have appeared simultaneously.
  2. Refurbished Kindle 2 US and Refurbished Kindle DX International have dropped their price by around $50 each.
  3. There are rumors of both a thinner, faster, clearer Kindle 2 and of a black Kindle DX.
  4. It’s 1 year 3 months since the Kindle 2 was released and 1 year since Kindle DX was released.

Yesterday, looking at all the signs that indicated a Kindle 3 might be imminent it was hard to say. However, the appearance of the refurbished Kindle DX is yet another sign and at some point you have to start thinking perhaps it’s not just a bunch of random coincidences.

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