The eReader Price War Begins

Given Apple’s amazing iPad sales figures, it’s really no surprise that we’d see downward pricing pressure on the fewer trick ponies. And for some time, I’ve been saying eReaders need to drop under $150 for mass market adoption (and preferably even lower). Border’s Kobo was first to announce that more comfortable price point. However, they’ve yet to actually ship. Now, if the Best Buy web site is to be believed (yes), Barnes & Noble will also hit $150 with a 3G-less Nook. Which makes me wonder what Amazon’s next Kindle move will be?

UPDATE: Barnes & Noble has confirmed the new Nook model and pricing. Yep, I’m in for one. How about you?

13 thoughts on “The eReader Price War Begins”

  1. Sony’s actually been offering their lower end Reader (Pocket Edition) for $150 on sale for a few weeks now. No WiFi though, which makes the Nook more compelling in my book. (Kobo also ships without WiFi… but it does offer Bluetooth. Not quite sure how that comes into play.)

  2. i bought a nook as a gift for my fiance two weeks ago. this frustrates me, maybe some skilled complaining at best buy will get my $59 back.

    otherwise, the nook rocks. she loves it.

  3. let me follow up that upgrade path question–

    So for $50 bucks you give up free lifetime 3G connectivity?

    I think $150 is a good price point for enticing people to try a book reader (although $99 would be even more enticing). Are there any committments to buy books? If not, I’m surprised no one is trying the “Columbia House” model, with a reduced entry cost, but a requirement to purchase a certain number of titles over a certain period.

    Are there any 3G wireless cards of an SD size? (There’s a wifi card targeted for photographers; could a 3G card be produced in that scale?) Or perhaps a USB dongle situation?

    I’m not all that familiar with the Nook (or Kindle) specs and features regarding non-book content (web pages, email, RSS, twitter, PDFs, etc). But if such features are available or added later, I could see people wanting to add or upgrade to 3G if they discover they love their Nook.

  4. Ryan, Amazon could go down that path with a bare bones model. There’s been reports that they’ve already provided Kindles to customers who buy a lot of books. I agree $79 – $129 is probably the sweet spot for a basic eReader.

    The Nook already offers beta web browsing… but only over WiFi. Because I’m sure the 3G service could get costly quick. And it also supports sideloading of content, but that’s currently handled via USB I believe.

  5. Everything coming out of Amazon and Bezos says that the next Kindle is going to emphasize a better price point rather than higher tech. I just hope for their sake its sooner rather than later. I’m perfectly happy with my Kindle 2, which I bought for 359 IIRC, but I won’t buy a second one unless it’s in the 99-149 price range.

  6. Well, Amazon has just responded. No new WiFi-only hardware (yet), but they just dropped the price of the 3G Kindle from $259 to $189 – which is $10 cheaper than the 3G nook.

    There’s also been rumors of an August Kindle refresh. The plot thickens…!

  7. If you ride the Washington Ferries, there’s lots of rumors about the longevity of the Kindle. Yep, as evidenced by the UW bookstore, Best Buy (Silverdale), AND on the ferries, the Nook is more popular than the Kindle. There’s a lot of iPads too.

    There’s an equal number of Amazon, and Microsofties riding these ferries……hmmmm.

  8. Interesting that Amazon didn’t just match but beat the Nook. The refurbs still have been updated to a lower price point… I wonder how much lower they will be priced at… surely $150 or less… With Kobo’s $150 e-reader and Libre Pro (not e-ink) $120 (both available from Borders), the eReader war is heating up. Makes the $399 I dropped on the original Kindle seem crazy (ah, the price to be an early adopter)

  9. Funny you mention that… after I hit publish and went to purchase the nook, I said to myself I’d give Amazon a week to respond. (But it only took them 6-7 hours.) I also played with a co-workers nook a bit today.

    The nook is somewhat geeky which kind of appeals to me as does the color book covers, so I’m still thinking I pick up the WiFi model. But the interface is probably too complex for my mom, who’d be better off with the Kindle.

    Basically, I’m going to sleep on it. I suspect what I’ll do is swing by B&N later this week whenever the $150 unit shows up and grab it. Will wait for the rumored Kindle refresh for my mom. Lowered refurb Kindle prices could also sway me. As just an occasional book reader and someone buying a gift, I’m more price sensitive than I normally am.

  10. i’d go with the nook. having it in the house over the past few days makes me want to pick up a wifi version for myself.

    You can have up to 5 nooks per B&N account, so each nook on the account gets whatever books you buy. (Maybe more cost effective for Mrs. Zatz?)

    Also, the nook just mounts as a drive on any OS, dropping PDF’s and images for screensavers and wallpapers is super easy. And i found a pretty cool site for RSS feeds that is nook-aware and imports google reader feeds:

  11. What’s shocking to me is Amazon is still keeping the larger screen size Kindle at $489! Are there really people buying this at that price, especially since the entry level iPad is basically the same price? Why would Amazon not lower the price for the DX as well?

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