The Nook costs $149. I had a minor rant about the Kindle commercial that came out last fall. It suggested that $139 was a steal for the Kindle because a character had paid more for sunglasses.
Ranting aside, price is relative. $139 is a steal for some. A free Kindle is truly a steal for anyone. Is it on it's way? Unlikely for everyone, but for select customers, throwing in a free Kindle may be on the horizon by November.
Going back to my Barnes and Noble experience: Putting eReaders in people's hands is what it's all about. At Amazon, if someone buys a lot of books, so many that they get free shipping, then giving them a Kindle is the next logical step. Last year, close to $1 billion in ebooks were sold. By 2015, expectations are $3 billion. With 47% of the current ebook market, Amazon is in a prime position to package free Kindles into premium programs, which will maximize ebooks sales.
When asked by author Kevin Kelly about the price projections on the above chart Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos "merely smiled and said, 'Oh, you noticed that!' And then smiled again."
Barnes and Noble has the physical location to do demos, but with only 4% of the ebook market and with the overhead of their stores cutting into profits, a free Nook seems unlikely in the near future.
So come Christmas 2011, Kris Kindle may come down the chimney with a free eReader, but definitely not St. Nookolaus!