There is a price war developing in the electronic reader market, as Amazon.com cut the price of its Kindle e-reader below $200 USD Monday (Jun 21 2010) just after Barnes & Noble did the same with its competing Nook device.
The rapid-fire moves are ignighting flames in the still-small but rapidly growing market that the book industry sees as a major part of its future.
On Monday afternoon, online retailer Amazon slashed the price of the Kindle by $70 USD to $189 USD, just a few hours after bookseller Barnes & Noble reduced the price of the Nook by $40 to $199 USD and said it would also start selling a new Nook with Wi-Fi access for $149 USD.
Both the Kindle and the original Nook can wirelessly download books over high-speed data networks; the Nook also has Wi-Fi access.
Both e-readers are creeping closer to the price of bookstore chain Indigo, Borders Group new $149 Kobo e-reader.
And the cuts mean the price gap between these products and Apple touch screen iPad, which starts at $499, is getting ever wider. The popularity of the iPad, along with a number of other tablet computers soon to be available that offer many functions, have pressed e-reader makers to lower prices. People can get multifunctional devices that do a lot more and buy one device rather than have several decides.
Nook's price cut indicates that when eBook redress up against a $500 digital photo frame on acid, that does everything, they can no longer keep a straight face when selling something for $259 that only does books. At some point the eReader may be really low cost with the books generating the revenue.
He was also expecting Amazon to reduce the Kindle's price, but nobody expected it to go so low so fast.
The goal of the price cuts is to get some more people to hop on the e-reader bandwagon, but this will take time and there is not expected to be a tipping point where people will commit to buying tens of millions of e-books. Despite all the hubbub, the market is still small: Nine per cent of U.S. adults bought at least one e-book last year, the trends in Canada are expected to be very similar.