Is the Kindle Voyage Too Overpriced?


Kindle Voyage Side

Yesterday when Amazon unveiled the new Kindle Voyage ebook reader, initial impressions were positive given the new super high-resolution screen and fancy page turning sensors, but there’s definitely a bit of sticker shock to go along with the new Kindle Voyage as well.

Amazon is clearly aiming for the “premium” dedicated ereader market, but have they overshot the mark on pricing? Did they deliver enough new features to warrant such a high price?

Let’s break down the numbers. The Wi-Fi Kindle Voyage costs $199 and the 3G model costs $269, and that includes advertisements, so to be fair when comparing to other non-Kindle devices, the price is really $219 and since other brands don’t offer 3G that’s the price to consider. That’s $40 more than the new Kobo Aura H2O, and it has the benefit of a larger 6.8-inch screen, a microSD card slot, and it’s waterproof and dustproof.

Does the higher resolution screen on the Voyage and added page sensors make up for the difference?

Then there are new Android-powered ereaders like the Onyx Boox T68. It sells for $199 on Amazon, and it runs Android 4.0, comes with Google Play, and can even run the Kindle Android app. It doesn’t have 300 ppi or page sensors, but it does have physical buttons and offers hardware upgrades such as Bluetooth, a microSD card slot, audio support, and a larger 6.8-inch display.

When comparing the price of the Kindle Voyage to other Kindles, the price seems a bit out of proportion too. The new entry-level touchscreen Kindle starts at $79, and the Kindle Paperwhite remains available for $119.

You could buy both the Kindle Paperwhite 2 and the new Kindle Touch for the same price as one Kindle Voyage. Or you could buy two of the new Fire HD 6 tablets for the same price as one Kindle Voyage. That’s kind of crazy.

$199 is the same price the 9.7-inch Kindle DX sold for (in fact Amazon still sells the international Kindle DX but shipping is 3 to 5 months away—it makes no sense). It’s a shame that Amazon didn’t revive their interest in large screen ebook readers, but at least the Boox M96 is a solid option—a new Kindle DX could have never competed with it on a software level anyway.

Either way you slice it, the new Kindle Voyage is one of the most expensive 6-inch ebook readers that money can buy. Time will tell if it turns out to be successful at that price, or if it ends up being another Fire Phone debacle.

So what do you think? Is the Kindle Voyage too overpriced?

38 Responses to “Is the Kindle Voyage Too Overpriced?”

  1. It is priced too high for me. I would have ordered it already, had it been $150. Instead, I ordered the Fire HD 6″.

  2. I ordered one last night but to be honest its too high. My order for a 3G model with special offers was $269.00 (or less). I thought “or less”? I believe they may lower the price before the release date. Just my guess. I certainly hope it does not fall days or weeks later and I have way overpaid. Months I can live with, just not weeks.

  3. It is expensive. The 300 ppi, non touch page turns, and light weight were enough for me to pull the trigger though.

    I think the light sensor is gimmicky and using the premium materials are not absolutely necessary. I would have done without those to save on cost. My guess is they could have got the price more on target at $169 which I think would be a lot more attractive for current PW owners to upgrade.

    I think they are trying to market this as a luxury ereader for those who really want it. I imagine the PW will still be there #1 seller overall. I do all my reading on the kindle and higher ppi will always sway. 300 PPI is really nice.

  4. Too expensive…I’ve been replacing my kindle every year for the last 3 years but I’m going to skip this one. I hope they will bring the software futures to PW, though.

    • I’m sure they will bring the new software features to the Paperwhite too since they are still offering it and are advertising them on the new entry-level Kindle page as well.

  5. The pricing is a bit high, to be sure. I think a more appropriate price point would be starting at $159, as to not compete to directly with the Paperwhite. That all being said, I’m still getting one. Why? All of those extra features. Kindle has led the ereader market for a while now, and with good cause: their products are solid. The capacitive page turn buttons, flush bezel, and that super high res screen are where it’s at right now. I thought about the Aura, but I don’t do enough on the Kobo ecosystem. I thought about the Andoid eink readers, but their usefulness isn’t even determined by their manufacturer. How well they work is determined by the app developers and whether or not they support eink in their app. Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Play Books really don’t offer great eink support in their Android apps. I own a lot of stuff on both the Nook and Kindle ecosystems, but the Nook is in its death throes. From here on in, it’s going to be pretty much limited to a software only ecosystem. That leaves B&N out as an option for a new eink reader.

    So this pretty much leaves me getting either a new Paperwhite or the Voyage and asking myself if the Voyage is worth the extra $80 to me. Is it? To me, yes… The extra screen sharpness, flush bezel, and adaptive light are all worth a premium to me. Do I wish it was a $40 difference instead of $80? Yep. But I understand where Amazon is coming from.

    Can’t wait for it.

    • The Voyage does look like a really nice device. You can tell they took a lot of design inspiration from the Kobo Aura and it’s by far the best-looking ebook reader with the flush screen and small tablet-like design—I just hope the Voyage doesn’t suffer from the same degradation in text quality.

      • I don’t think it will. A lot of attention has gone in to making this screen THE selling point. One thing that’s true of the Amazon line of products is they they consistently get better (audio support notwithstanding, and that’s a debatable area). I expect that complaints will be addressed and that this will be their flagship.

  6. Calibre will be getting a workout, btw… lots of Nook stuff anf epubs to convert.

  7. Way too expensive. It might be more marketing than anything. It makes the PW seem like a really good deal – so this might end up increasing PW sales.

    If for one would rather see them do a cost reduction on the basic Kindle and get it down to $59 or $49.

    In the end they make their money off of selling e-books not e-readers.

  8. I think Amazon is trying to compete with everyone and in the beginning that strategy might have been a good idea but if Amazon wants to stay relevant it needs to decide who it want to compete against, Apple, Samsung, Nexus? Pick a company and compete against it. I think that is why Samsung has been successful in recent years, it set its target as Apple and went for it. Amazon needs to refocus and trying to be everyone’s competition.

    • Sorry, typing to fast. I meant to say Amazon needs to refocus and stop trying to compete with everyone.

      • I don’t think that’s the case here. Amazon really has no more competition in the eInk space, so that means they can set the price standard as they see fit. In that respect they’re more like Apple now where there is no real competition for the iPad, which dominates the large form factor market, and is in fact the only 4:3 aspect ratio device at that size, which is the only ratio that works for two page layout books without wasting enormous amounts of screen space. Amazon needs more competition to force their e-reader prices down.

        • I really think otherwise… Amazon got a LOT of competition in the e-ink space espacialy in the last year when so many good 6″ e-ink readers were anounced like Kobo Aura line, the new H2O, Pocketbook has some decent devices, Icarus Illumina…
          Won’t event start with the tablets, where the market is really crowded.
          And to set them apart again (Amazon vs. others) I was sure they would come with something bigger and better in the e-ink space.

          And yes, with around ~240€ here in EU it’s way to expensive. Will rather add the 80€ and get the M96 (unles the Pocketbook InkPad gets good reviews)

  9. For $199 couldn’t they at least have added an expandable storage option?

    • I’m really surprised it doesn’t at least have audio support at that price, especially considering how much attention Amazon has been giving to the Kindle ebook and audiobook tie in.

  10. Kindle is like Apple everything is overpriced by 40%,plus it is all built inChINA and not USA plain junk!

  11. Yes it is too high and out of line with their other options. For many of the same reasons Cloudmann stated above I debated heavily about whether to upgrade. I have a Nook Glowlight and a PW2. If it was $150-170 I wouldn’t have hesitated a minute but $219(I hate the special offers screensavers) is a bit steep for what it is. I am not certain I won’t cancel the order TBH and I hope they do lower the price before they ship. I really like the idea of that 300dpi resolution.

  12. Okay I just went to the previous post and watched the videos and that screen looks pretty damn nice. 🙂

  13. If it had audio then the price would be okay. Since it does not then it it over-priced. While the Voyage has some very nice features I think I will stick with my K3/keyboard and buy a different Android (not Fire) tablet.

  14. You know, I think that I’m coming into this from a slightly different angle than most. I’ll be upgrading from a Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight. Being as I’m going with thw Kindle ecosystem and that I’d already be out $140 for the Paperwhite, I may as well go in the extra $80 and get the premium product with that killer screen. If I already owned a 2nd gen Paperwhite, that would likely deter me from a $220 purchase. For me, though, it IS a substantial upgrade and well worth it.

  15. If it were $179, I would consider buying it. But at $199, I only added it to my Christmas wishlist. Either I get it as a present or I wait for the price to drop a bit.

  16. Waiting for my refurbed PW1 to expire before I spend 220 on the pretty new Voyage, which I would have already ordered if I could do the whiz-bang book/audio book thang with it. Pretty but not THAT pretty ;p

  17. Here’s how I’m approaching the cost of this thing… I purchased my then new Nook Touch with Glowlight over two years ago. The technology in it (except for the light) was aging already, but it was the best option for me, being as I didn’t already have a dedicated ereader. I paid $140 for it then. Nook’s hardware division is dying and so is the battery in my Nook, so it’s time to upgrade. I’m not going with the new Nook Glowlight for a bunch of reasons… mainly because I can’t find all the books I’d like to read in the B&N ecosystem or at the price Amazon offers. If I have to purchase elsewhere and convert, I may as well do it on a better device. And if I’m going to upgrade for the next two to three years, the $220 plunge isn’t that much. Breaks down to about 6 to 9 dollars a month. Get the cheaper Paperwhite and it comes in at 4 to 6 dollars a month (both depending on a two to three year life). Not a big deal for me in order to have a nicer, lighter, better device. I do a lot of reading. My eyes should be more comfortable with the sharper resolution and the better light. And that’s a HUGE consideration if I plan to use this for the next two or three years. I’d hate to invest $140 on the Paperwhite and regret not having a better screen, light, and turn buttons in a few months.

  18. Hm, back in March 2009 I purchased my first Kindle (2nd gen) for $359 and didn’t think it was “overpriced”. So no, I don’t think the Voyage is too expensive.

    300 ppi isn’t important or needed? Right, just like 300 dpi didn’t make a huge difference when laser printers appeared. Finally this old former graphic artist can read ebooks on an e-ink screen with the type quality of paper hardcover books. Hurrah!

  19. My 1st Gen Paperwhite met an untimely death and I’ve been looking for a replacement but the Voyage’s price tag chases me away when I can get a brand new Paperwhite 2 for $80 less, and the Voyage’s features aren’t enough to justify the cost.

  20. Before you decide not to but, find a shop with a Kobo Aura HD or H2O and see that screen in person. While the Kobo screens look great, the Voyage screens are much more sessy.

    Almost got an Aura HD, but I don’t dig how big the device is or that it’s not on the Amazon ecosystem. Glad I held out. Come on October 21st!

  21. That is to say, before you decide not to BUY. Hate my pudgy, non-touchscreen-friendly fingers.

  22. I put “Kindle Voyage seems expensive” into Google and found this site. I was curious to see if the high price was worth it. In England the Voyage starts at £169 which is about $278 including tax, which seems hefty to me. Does it have a more solid feel? It’s seems a lot for a few more DPI.

    • The Kindle Voyage doesn’t get released for about 4 weeks, so until then I can’t offer any hands-on experience, but from early reports it sounds like the design has a more premium feel than regular Kindles. There’s this graphic on Amazon’s website that shows the hardware in more detail. The entire front is flush with micro-etched glass, and the back is made from magnesium instead of the usual plastic. The page buttons with haptic feedback certainly add quite a bit to the price too, I’m sure. 4 weeks from today I’ll know more (that’s when mine is set to arrive).

  23. Really like what Amazon have done with the Voyage BUT the price is awfully high… I think £120 in the UK would be possible for me but now I think I will miss out.

  24. At this price, why not buy a Nexus 7 2013, great screen and can do ereading and far beyond!

    • That’s true, but eink screens make for much better dedicated readers. The constant screen refresh from a tablet, tv, or monitor causes eye fatigue. Reading on an eink screen is like reading a sheet of printed paper. Insofar as the price goes, this new screen has a crazy pixel pitch and premium build quality. For the long haul, it’s not that big of an investment. I’ve had my ereader for two years, now.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I own a couple of tablets, too. Just use them for different stuff like reading magazines and color comics or for more traditional tablet uses like surfing the web.

  25. I’m still trying to figure out why the model with “free 3G” is more expensive than the one without it. How is the 3G free if it costs more?

    • I’ve said the same thing before but it’s free in the sense that you don’t have to pay monthly wireless fees like you would with a phone. Using 3G is free but the extra hardware is not.

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