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Will you buy the $139 Kindle Wi-Fi?

If you don't need 3G (and, let's face it, you don't), Amazon's latest and least-expensive Kindle is really hard to pass up.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
At $139, the Kindle Wi-Fi is Amazon's most affordable e-book reader yet. But is it affordable enough?
At $139, the Kindle Wi-Fi is Amazon's most affordable e-book reader yet. But is it affordable enough? Amazon

As you've probably heard by now, Amazon just took the wraps off two new Kindle models: the Kindle Wi-Fi and Kindle Free 3G+Wi-Fi.

Let's set aside for a moment the curious naming conventions at work here. (Yo, Amazon: was something wrong with "Kindle 3" and "Kindle 3 Wi-Fi Edition"? What's with all the vague "All-New Kindle" and "Latest Generation" monikers?) The big news is price, at least for the Wi-Fi model: $139.

When the Kindle debuted nearly three years ago, I was excited by the hardware (I'm an e-book fan from way back) but disappointed by the $399 price tag. That didn't stop people from snapping them up, of course--you may recall that the first batch sold out in a matter of hours, and it was nearly six months until Amazon replenished its stock.

Still, as a card-carrying cheapskate, I could not and would not pay that much for a dedicated e-book reader. In my mind, the magic price point was $99. I suspected it would come, and I'm delighted to see we're almost there.

I'm also glad Amazon finally realized that built-in 3G is overkill in a device like the Kindle. Between homes, offices, Starbucks stores, and airports, Wi-Fi hot spots are just about everywhere. Downloading the occasional book doesn't carry the same urgency as, say, checking e-mail or updating Twitter, so why pay extra for 3G? (You still can, of course: the "Free 3G+Wi-Fi" model sells for $189.)

If I didn't already own an iPad and iPhone (I still read most of my e-books on the latter, though more and more I'm starting to crave a larger screen), I'd definitely grab the Kindle Wi-Fi for $139. It's not $99, but it's close enough.

What about you? Is this close enough to your "magic price point" as well? Are you bummed you missed out on the $109.99 refurbished Kindle 2 from a couple weeks ago? (Guess we know the driving force behind that deal.)

More to the point, do you think Kindles and other dedicated e-book readers can survive the current and coming tablet onslaught? As long as people continue to read, I honestly don't care.