Get a Kindle 2 for $299. Or, better yet...

...don't. While the price drop is encouraging, the Kindle is still overpriced for what it offers. Fortunately, there are two cheaper e-book alternatives worth considering.

The Kindle is a bit more affordable at $299, but there are still cheaper alternatives. Amazon

As you may have heard, Amazon just dropped the price of the Kindle 2 to $299.

As a fan of A) e-books, B) gadgets, and C) deals, I'm pleased--but I still think there are better, cheaper alternatives. Hear me out.

For starters, the 8GB iPod Touch does waaaay more than the Kindle (you don't really need me to list everything, do you? Music, videos, games, Internet, apps of all kinds...), but costs just $229. Heck, get a refurb for $179--I just did.

Obviously the Touch has a smaller screen than the Kindle, but it's also a backlit touch screen. Just yesterday I spent the better part of a five-hour flight reading an e-book on my iPhone (via the Kindle app, ironically). No eyestrain, no headaches, no problem. Try it before you pooh-pooh it. (I also routinely read in bed with it. Can't do that with the Kindle unless there's a light on.)

Here's an even more radical idea: buy a Netbook. As regular Cheapskate readers know, it's not uncommon to find models selling for as low as $200, sometimes even less.

And with a couple minor tweaks, it's a simple matter to turn your Netbook into a Kindle. Yes, I know, it's heavier and bulkier--but it's also a full-blown computer!

My goal here is not to trash the Kindle, which I think is a terrific device. (Anything that encourages reading is aces in my book.) In fact, it's even more terrific now that you can (cheap plug alert!) read the Cheapskate blog on it.

But $299 is still too high, at least for me. (Amazon needs to lower its e-book prices, too, but that's a gripe for another day.) What about you? How much would you pay for a Kindle?

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