The Amazon Kindle Voyage was released late last year and for all intents and purpose the e-reader was a complete flop. It was the least purchased and least reviewed product that the Seattle company has released in a number of years. So what went wrong?
Amazon never releases sales figures for their hardware division in all of their fiscal reports. The only way to accurately determine how many units have been sold is to look at verified reviews.
The Kindle Voyage has only garnered 7,342 reviews on Amazon since it launched in November of 2014. This is fairly paltry considering the entry level Kindle Basic Touch came out at the exact same time and has 12,389 customer reviews. Things are so bleak for the Voyage, in terms of sales that the 4 month old Kindle Paperwhite has more reviews, clocking in at 7,684.
One of the reasons why the Kindle Voyage was such as flop was because of the high price. The device retails at $199, whereas the Paperwhite 3 is $119 and normally can be purchased on-sale for an additional $20 in savings. The Basic is the cheapest of them all, and can be yours at a very respectable $79.
When e-readers first rose to popularity from 2007 to 2012, they were fairly expensive. Most new devices cost around $300, and trended upwards depending on the screen size. Over the last few years they have drastically fallen in price, as innovation has ground to a halt and companies are trying to make the cheapest device possible. Customers have been trained that e-readers should be super affordable now and Amazon has realized that once you jack the price up, people are not going to respond. The same thing has happened with e-book pricing, people were trained that $9.99 was the standard and now publishers are charging anywhere from $12.99 to 17.99. This has resulted in e-book sales falling in the high single digits over 2015.
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Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.