Just because another revision of the Amazon kindle has been popular doesn’t mean much. A new version of the iPad, should it surface tomorrow, would not alter the landscape markedly. Sony is about to launch another volley, but they are not a major player anyway.
No, the contestants are still being introduced, and those that are known are being shifted about, with prices reduced to jockey for position in a market that is as fluid as Niagara Falls.
Borders wants to be your e-reader store, and to prove it, they are brining out a reader from Aluratek that begins the descent from $100 for the popular devices.
The price tag for e-readers will drop below the $100 threshold on Wednesday when Borders starts selling the Aluratek Libre eBook Pro device for $99.99.
The book retailer also announced today that it will start selling the Kobo e-Reader tomorrow for $129.99, which is $20 less than its previous price. The Borders Web site today is offering buyers a $149.99 Kobo device with a free $20 gift card, essentially lowering the price to $129.99 already.
Borders CEO Mike Edwards described the moves as a way for "even more Borders customers to purchase e-readers at a great value."
Experts have been predicting for some time that prices for e-readers would fall below $100, primarily for those with so-called e-ink displays.
The Libre has an LCD monitor that Borders described as an "easy-to-read" display, though most analysts believe such screens can prove difficult to view when used for hours at a time. The Libre appears to be primarily designed for multimedia use — it includes a built-in MP3 player.
The Kobo device, in contrast, uses e-ink technology, which is said to be easier to read in bright sunlight and offers many shades of gray.
Borders has said its strategy involves offering a range of devices. It noted that it also sells the Android-based Velocity Micro Cruz Reader R101 and Cruz Tablet T103 devices on its Web site for $199.99 and $299.99, respectively. Both devices include 7-inch color touchscreens and offer Web browsing capabilities.
Borders may have started the e-reader price wars last spring when it unveiled the $149.99 Kobo.
Yankee Group analyst Dmitriy Molchanov recently predicted that the prices of some e-readers with black-and-white e-ink displays would be dropping to $50, probably next year, while some manufacturers will focus on devices with multifunction color screens that will sell for higher prices. Devices with color e-paper displays are expected to appear this fall.
Many analysts believe customers will compare various e-readers to the iPad, its 9.7-inch backlit LED display. The iPad, which starts at $499, offers a range of multimedia functions.
The price is very persuasive, especially when considering that the beginning price is $99. Whether the screen takes a toll on the reader after a time will not matter to many who will use it for short bursts of reading. The commuter that reads on the bus, or the train, and then goes to work, duplicating this behavior on the return home will probably be very happy.