Ever since rumors--and some alleged photos--of Amazon's next-generation Kindle digital reader hit the Web late last year, I keep getting e-mails from readers asking me for buying advice. Here's a typical note:
Around Christmas, I ordered the Amazon Kindle, but as I'm sure you know, it's back-ordered for a couple of months. Then I saw your article on the Kindle 2 coming out soon and I'm not sure what to do. Should I cancel my order? If the new Kindle 2 comes out right after I get mine, will I be able to return it?
Thanks for your help,
I understand where Susan's coming from. The Kindle's $359 right now--a decent chunk of change in a tight economy. And nothing sucks more than getting your timing wrong on the release of the next version of a product, particularly when you're dealing with a first-gen device like the Kindle that has room for improvement.
It's hard to say exactly who's to blame for this little mess, but any way you look at it Amazon has an interesting problem on its hands. If the company confirms that a new product is on the way, it potentially kills sales of the existing product. And if it puts out a product without warning its customers that a new product is coming, it risks alienating its customers.