kindle increaseScandal! Price hikes! Bait and switch! Usury!

Well, okay, maybe it’s not quite that bad. But today when I loaded up Amazon to check something, I got the usual notification that some items in the “saved for later” section of my shopping cart had changed price. And one of them was the Kindle Paperwhite, which I’d stuck there while I was doing research on potential new models to order after my Kindle Touch’s firmware upgrade failed.

As you can see above, Amazon has suddenly jacked up the price. No longer merely $119, it is now $119.99. An increase of 99 cents—almost an entire dollar! Will this runaway inflation never cease?

Indeed, searching on “Kindle” now reveals that their new Kindle and Fire models all have prices ending in dot-ninety-nine. Did they end in that before? I’m not sure. But I do know the brand new Paperwhite I was looking at has been bumped up—that’s right there from my shopping cart. It’s only the refurbs that are still dot-zero-zero now.

I suppose for as many of them as Amazon expects to sell, 99 cents isn’t that big a price difference individually—they can still claim the new Fire is “less than $50,” after all—but it will work out to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, at the least. Sort of like those schemes you hear about where someone sets up a computer program to skim fractions of a penny off hundreds of thousands of bank accounts.

It’s little tricks like this that keep Amazon chugging right along, huge revenue-making machine that it is. Maybe the average consumer won’t notice, but we’re smarter than that, right?


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail