Ryan Thomason

Are We at a Cusp of the eReader Price Wars?

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I got an email yesterday from Barnes and Noble touting some new pricing changes to their Nook eReader device. It raised my eyebrows at the least because I was considering the Nook as the reader I wanted from these current options available. I was even more curious when I learned that Amazon cut nearly $75 off the price of the Kindle. Are these responses to the encroaching iPad on their market share? Are these generations of devices fading out and they are cutting the price because we’re getting new readers? The main question is though, how can we the consumer benefit from this!

First. as an opening volley the Nook dropped from a $259 to $199 price point on the 3G service device. So, if you want to buy and read a book wherever you want, you’re now only out $200. During the same press release they’ve introduced a $149 WI-FI only version, so expect a whole bunch of new Nook users to be invading your local Starbucks.

With their salvo, Amazon not only cut, but hacked their price. Dropping from a $259 price point to a $189. If you were hesitant before, you shouldn’t be anymore. With the Kindle now selling at Target stores aside from the Amazon website, which apparently has good stock, so you don’t have to wait forever for it to ship, it shouldn’t be hard to snag one. The Kindle still only comes in one form with a 3G service still, which isn’t bad at all, but I’m waiting for them to introduce a WI-FI only cheaper version like B&N did.

You have to think though, how much were these companies impacted by the iPad? iPad took merely a couple of months to reach the same amount of sales numbers that took the Kindle two years to achieve. You can have the Kindle app on your iPad, which seems kinda ironic since they are essentially competitors. I think that as we see iPad continue to storm their way onto the eReader market, we’re going to continue seeing price drops in the Nook and Kindle. Both companies have made it clear that they don’t really want to have the features that made the iPad unique (screen black-lighting being a big one). So, what can we really expect from them in the next generation of eReaders other than price drops?

Even though it kills me, I’m going to continue riding this wave out. If the eReaders get anywhere near the $99 range, I think I may finally have a reason to jump to one side while I wait for the iPad to be a more viable option.

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