Talking tech since 2003

Last week, we learned all about the ways that simply owning a Kindle device greatly increased the chances that you’d spend loads of cash on junk you buy from Amazon. Essentially, in addition to being a pretty decent Android-powered tablet and e-reader, the Kindle line is an Amazon machine, locking you into an ecosystem that has everything you want, along with stuff you didn’t even know you needed. But yesterday, a post on AllThingsD pointed the way back to a new offer from Amazon that makes not buying a new Kindle Fire HDX a difficult proposition.

If you buy either the seven-inch or 8.9-inch versions of the 16 GB Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon is offering you the chance to pay for 25 percent of the purchase price up front, with three more monthly payments to cover the rest of the cost—interest-free. That means you can get a brand new seven-inch Android tablet, which normally retails for $230, for under $60 a month, for four months (while the bigger, $379 version will set you back about $95 a month). That’s a pretty painless scenario, and I’m having a tough time keeping myself from just buying one right now.

So what does this promotion tell us about Amazon? Mostly that the company’s got its eye on the long game. While offering an in-demand gadget like the Kindle Fire HDX with affordable, interest-free payments could seem like a shortsighted attempt to sell its products, that’s clearly not Amazon’s incentive here. We know that merely owning a Kindle makes you more likely to spend money at Amazon, and the company’s already earning a profit from selling the device at this price point alone. Considering its size and scope, Amazon can afford to take chunks of payments over the course of 90 days—since you’re going to be spending the money you would’ve spent up front on other Amazon products and services, most likely of the digital variety.

And those digital goods and services, like, video, music, games, apps, and books? All of that gets to you without the need for handling or delivery, meaning that the overhead is low, the profit margin is high, and Amazon has a great holiday season. This may not be a the science-fiction of a delivery drone, but this offer makes it clear that Jeff Bezos is an evil genius—and that doesn’t stop me from still wanting to give him all of my money.

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