Amazon.ca is finally listing the Kindle Oasis—at a jaw-dropping $400 CAD.
I know you Americans will convert this into US dollars and think it’s probably a bargain, but keep in mind that Amazon.ca is for shopping by Canadians, who earn Canadian dollars and pay with them. This is 400 big ones for me, if I want it. For comparison, the base Kindle is $79.99 CAD and the Paperwhite—the cheapest model with the light on it—is $139.99 CAD.
Also for comparison, an iPad Mini 2 is $329 CAD. The Kindle Oasis is by far the most expensive reading device one can buy.
There is no conceivable way I would pay $400 for an E Ink reader. I can accept that such a device is a niche product and can be a better reading experience than a tablet. I can even accept that people are willing to pay for them. I like my Paperwhite, and if anything happened to it, I probably would buy another one. But $400 is just insane. There is no feature set that could possibly compensate for that high a price point. I love reading books. But…$400?
So, what price point, then? And what feature set? If I were designing an e-ink reader right now, I would go for affordability by the masses, to get people excited about reading again. Here’s how I would tweak the Paperwhite I have right now:
1) Price point just under $100. That’s enough to earn back the cost if you mass-produce it efficiently, but not so high that regular people will be priced out. I appreciate that we’re not going for the Kindle Tablet $50, folks. So, a little price premium is fine. Just not $400!
2) A more robust processor. This is a problem I have had with every Kindle I’ve owned: they can store an awful lot of books, but actually trying to fill it to capacity will slow down the works too much as the Kindle labours to index everything. I’ve never had a Kindle more than a quarter full as a result.
3) The experimental browser needs to be improved. After how many generations, it’s still experimental. Why? I am not saying we need a full tablet experience here, but stuff like Wikipedia lookup needs to be smoother and faster. It is within technical capabilities now to have this working much smoother than it is.
4) Better book organization options. To be honest, I miss the way they used to do collections—I like that you can organize your books, but I also like keeping my cloud and on-device titles separate. You can do this if you list by title or author, but under the current ‘sort by collections’ framework, it mixes them up. I’d like to be able to sort by collection, but still view only titles which are on my device.
5) In-book error reporting features. There has simply got to be a faster and easier way to get typos fixed. I finished a book yesterday which was fabulous, error-free, and had a sequel. So I loaded up the sequel and within the first chapter, found five typos. I was so disappointed! How about adding an option to the highlighting menu where, instead of making a note or looking up on Wikipedia or whatever it is, there is a ‘report this highlight as a typo’ button. Then Amazon could more immediately make actual corrections to their titles for future readers?
So, those are my suggestions. Did I miss anything important?