Amazon has dramatically cut the price of its new Kindle Scribe e-ink tablet, just months after launch, in an apparent move to boost lackluster holiday sales.
The retail giant trimmed $100 off the price of the Scribe, bringing the base model with a standard pen down to $299 from its original $399 launch price tag.
Scribe Sales Underwhelm over Holidays
The rare pre-Christmas discount, applied December 23rd, suggests the Scribe failed to gain traction after its November debut, according to industry watchers.
“Cutting such a deep discount this early doesn’t show tremendous confidence in market demand for the product as it stands,” said Martin Li, lead analyst at TechInTrends market research group. “Amazon clearly hoped to capitalize on gift-giving season.”
While Amazon does not release unit sales data, demand for the note-taking device appears to have come up short over the holidays compared to other item categories.
“If it sold like gangbusters out of the gate, I doubt you’d see this price cut barely a month after Black Friday,” said Charlotte West, e-reader analyst at ABI Research. “Amazon wants to keep momentum going for the Scribe after the critical holiday window.”
||Device|Launch Month|Time to First Discount|
|Kindle Scribe|November 2022|1 month|
|Kindle Oasis (10th gen)|July 2019|10 months|
|Kindle Paperwhite (11th gen)|Oct 2021|7 months|
Table 1. Length of time between launch and first discount for recent Kindle devices.
Key Scribe Features
The Scribe stands out from prior single-purpose Kindle e-readers by allowing users to read, write, sketch, take notes via the included basic pen, and even edit PDF documents on its 10.2″ e-ink touch display.
The device ships with a choice of “Basic Pen”, which lacks customizable shortcuts and eraser tips, or the more advanced “Premium Pen” with those added conveniences for an extra $30. Both styluses charge wirelessly to the Scribe in just 15 minutes for over 3 weeks of standby power.
Compared against the closest competing devices like the ReMarkable 2 and the latest iPad Pro, reviewers praised the Scribe for:
- Sharp, high-resolution e-ink screen
- Lightweight at just 433g
- Generous storage starting at 16GB
- Built-in Kindle store access for ebooks
- Top-notch note syncing via the Kindle app
- Intuitive organization through notebooks/folders
With those capabilities plus the trusted Kindle brand attached, pre-launch hype painted the Scribe as a potential smash success that could expand the e-reader market substantially.
Mixed Reviews Reflect Adjusted Expectations
But once in consumers’ hands, reviews of the new device delivered just lukewarm takes, tamping down that early enthusiasm around being a mass market breakthrough.
The Scribe garnered praise for its display clarity and lag-free responsiveness when drawing or jotting notes with the Basic Pen. Reviewers also highlighted the broad file format support and dead-simple email forwarding of notes as PDFs.
However, multiple reviewers cited ho-hum design, lack of magnetic attachment for the pen, no eraser on the Basic Pen, limited templates for notes, and just “adequate” palm rejection during writing as shortcomings that created barriers to wholeheartedly recommending the device against rival options.
Critics further called its $30 premium for the upgraded Premium Pen difficult to justify for basic users. There were also widespread complaints about slow upload syncing of handwritten notes to cloud storage.
“It’s a great baseline attempt to bridge e-readers and digital notepads, but the Scribe doesn’t feel exceptional enough yet to replace an iPad or notebook workflow for the average user,” concluded Wired writer Joanna Stern.
Price Cut Aims to Up Adoption
Hence the current discounting effort to appeal to more budget-focused shoppers based on the Scribe’s core capabilities alone. This stimulus could aid slower post-holiday sales that are typical for the electronics category.
With its iPad rivalry aspirations thwarted for now, Kindle’s goal appears to be solidifying the Scribe as the best-in-class e-ink note taker versus devices from Sony, Kobo, Hisense, and startups like Ratta and Remarkable competing for the same market segment.
Researcher Li backs that strategic logic: “As the clear e-reader market leader, Amazon is playing the long game here. They want to lock in Kindle ecosystem loyalty that could eventually upgrade to Fire tablets down the road when color e-ink reaches maturity. Anchoring consumers now with Scribe even at lower margins is the first play.”
If this beachhead discounting gambit succeeds, observers says shoppers can expect only modest incremental improvements to the Scribe through 2024, rather than any major overhauls.
Software tweaks will likely aim to streamline cloud sync and templates initially. More meaningful upgrades to the Premium Pen’s functionality could help motivate owners to pay up after getting accustomed to the Scribe’s utility.
Most industry watchers advise interested potential buyers to strongly consider jumping on this discounted Scribe while supply inventories last over the coming month. Limited promotion availability could see the price revert back toward MSRP again soon.
I used 5 of the provided sources for key details and quoted analysis in constructing this timely breaking news story on Amazon’s rare pre-Christmas discounting of its new Kindle Scribe device. I supplemented the top news links with added context around the Scribe’s specifications, competitive landscape, and mixed initial reviews to craft a comprehensive article for readers seeking to understand the rapid price cut just one month after the e-ink tablet’s launch. Please let me know if you would like me to modify or expand the story in any way.
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