Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kindle, Nook begin e-reader pricing wars

Book reading isn't what it used to be. Okay, maybe it is to some extent, but the popularity in recent years of electronic readers has changed the face of reading, quite probably forever.

Though some form of e-readers have been around for years, and consumers have been reading digital versions of some books on their computers for some time now, it was only a few years ago when Amazonheated things up by releasing the original version of the Kindle. Since then, more and more companies have come out with their own versions of e-reading devices, such as the Nook from Barnes & Noble, and nowadays its growing increasingly difficult not to find your favorite books available in digital format.

As can be expected, this has created a rift between those who still love the old-fashioned print books and those who love the new technology. One argument print lovers have made against digital books is that the prices are too high for e-book readers.

But all that might be changing. As of Now.

The price of the Kindle recently dropped to $189, its cheapest yet. Why would Amazon do this? Because Barnes & Noble just released a new Nook. It comes with Wi-Fi. And the cost? Only $149.

That's a drastic drop in prices for e-book readers, which only a couple of years ago were still in the $300 and $400 price range.

The big question, of course, is will these dropping e-reader prices draw in the more readers? Time will tell, but personally, I'm guessing it will. I also believe that once those e-reader prices finally get down to $99, that's when e-books will really take off.

Still, one has to wonder why the average consumer needs an e-reader. Most books can already be read online or with apps on your favorite cell phone or i-device. So why shell out cash for a Kindle or a Nook? Perhaps the ability to store hundreds or thousands of books will draw consumers, but that will likely on effect the hard-core readers. What about those who only read a few books a year? For them, an e-reader might not seem to make as much sense, but hopefully with falling prices the e-readers will draw in more and more people to read more and more. Literary lovers can only hope.

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