Borders reportedly plans on slashing its e-reader prices, in order to further undercut the price points of the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, according to a new Wall Street Journal report.
Borders plans on slashing the prices of the Kobo and
Aluratek Libre e-readers by $20, in a bid to better compete against competitors
such as the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, according to a new
President Mike Edwards told the Wall Street Journal Aug. 31 that the price
cuts allowed his company to place one of those e-readers, the Aluratek Libre,
in the under-$100 category. He also reportedly insisted that the cuts were not
a reflection of "pricing in the marketplace."
The Kobo will reportedly sell for $129.99, down from
$149.99, and the Aluratek Libre will now retail for $99.99, as opposed to
By slashing prices, Borders seems to be angling for a
larger share of the e-reader market by undercutting the original Kindle and
Nook, which retail for $189. Amazon also offers a WiFi-only version of the
Kindle for $139, while Barnes & Noble's WiFi-only Nook sells for $149.
However, Borders also plans to offer two higher-priced,
full-color e-readers during the fall season: the $199 Cruz Reader and the $299
Cruz Tablet, which also allow users to surf the Web and play multimedia
With regard to occupying more market share, Borders has a
decidedly uphill battle before it. Amazon announced its third-generation Kindle
July 28, unveiling a device with a higher-contrast e-ink screen, longer battery
life, Wikipedia access, support for password-protected PDFs and a more lightweight
body. Within days, Amazon posted a "temporarily sold out" message on
its Kindle page; orders today are expected to take 17 days.
Despite the battles between the various e-readers, all the
companies within the segment face a rising threat in the form of the Apple
iPad, which includes an e-reader application. In July, Susquehanna Financial
Group analyst Marianne Wolk suggested that Apple had likely shipped more iPads
than Amazon had Kindle users. Those estimates may prove problematic,
considering Amazon's habitual refusal to release numbers associated with the
device, but nonetheless suggest the potential pressures that the online
retailer faces with regard to both book sales and negotiating with publishers.
Amazon and Barnes & Noble are also locked in a battle
over software upgrades for their respective devices. A few days after the
newest Kindle's debut, two downloadable puzzle games appeared in the Kindle
Store-seemingly an early attempt to match the Nook's selection of Android-based
games. In January, Amazon announced a Kindle SDK (software development kit) for
developers to create games and applications for the platform, and presumably
match similar offerings available on the Nook.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.