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Free Amazon Kindles Now a Reality

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Two weeks ago, rumors were circulating that come this November, Amazon Kindles will be free. This is based off a graph created by analyst Kevin Kelly which saw the declining costs of Kindles reaching zero by November 2011.

Kelly even noted, "I've mentioned this forecast to all kinds of folks. In August, 2010 I had the chance to point it out to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. He merely smiled and said, 'Oh, you noticed that!' And then smiled again."

Well, it appears that we didn't even need to reach November to start seeing free Kindles.

Sort of.

Following the announcement that Kindles will soon be found in AT&T retail locations throughout the US, another mobile phone outlet will not only be carrying them, but giving them away for free! According to Paid Content, Carphone Warehouse -- the mobile phone retailer in Europe -- will be bundling Wi-Fi Kindles for free upon the purchase of a two-year contract on select mobile phones. A similar deal for the 3G model of the Kindle is also available -- but for the practically free price of £15.

Along with Amazon's effort to compete with Netflix by offering free streaming content with every Prime membership, this free Kindle push could be a means to maintain an e-reader lead against Apple's iPad, Barnes and Noble's Nook, and the Sony Reader. However, as Paid Content's Ingrid Lunden points out, there's little worry about Kindle abandonment in light of iPad's success. In fact, there's actually an increase in Kindle ownership. Lunden writes:

"In a poll of those buying the iPad 2 over the first weekend of sales found that 24 percent owned a Kindle, compared to 13 percent of original iPad buyers having a Kindle. And only 6 percent use their iPad 2 as an e-reading device, down from 19 percent of those surveyed during the launch of the first iPad."

Who knows what the market share will be if free Kindle-bundling reaches the States!

(See also: Will Amazon Kindles Be Free by November? and New Color Nook Takes the Worst From Both Worlds)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.