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B&N's Nook goes down to $149, Amazon cuts Kindle price too


Today, Barnes & Noble announced that it was dropping the price of its 3G Nook to $199, and introducing a new budget-friendly WiFi-only Nook for $149. On Sunday, the Nook was retailing for $259, which makes the new prices look like quite a bargain.

But not for long.

Soon, Amazon.com had an announcement of its own: The price of its least-expensive Kindle was being dropped by $70, to $189 from $259. Does that make Kindle the bargain of the day?

Maybe. Today Borders launched its e-reader, the Kobo. The Kobo doesn't have the features of the Kindle or the Nook -- it's not wireless -- but it is cheap, just $149.99. "Borders' Kobo undercuts Kindle, Nook on price," the Christian Science Monitor proclaimed on May 7. Now, it's lost its price advantage.

But are Barnes & Noble and Amazon really chasing after Borders, which is, after all, playing catch-up in the e-reader race? Probably not. Instead, they may be motivated by Apple. Today, when millions of iPhones get their new software updates, they'll be able to access the iBookstore. And there's the little matter of the massively pre-sold iPhone 4, set to arrive in stores Thursday.

It is possible that the price-cutting in e-readers will reach Apple's iPad, but it's not likely. However, it does make the price spread between the iPad and e-readers somewhat more significant -- the lowest-end iPad is now $350 more than the Nook and the Kobo. Despite all its gorgeous multimedia features, the iPad now looks like the luxury item of e-readers.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Nook, left, credit Barnes & Noble. Right, Kindle and iPad; credit, Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.

Buy an Amazon Kindle for the new low price of $189

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Comments () | Archives (13)

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Although my writing is on the Internet rather than in book form, I don't really understand yet about e-books, and I surely don't understand why they should be so expensive!

An iPad is a completely different category of device. Why are grouping it with simple eReaders?

why do people read books? form your own opinions

I'll stick with my paper books.

I can stream HD movies on my ipad. I can work inside Entourage on my ipad. My toddler daughter can play learning games on my ipad. Etc, etc.
The ipad is a book reader too, but please don't lump it in to that category, that is just showing ignorance.

Shelly, there is nothing like getting on a plane with 50 books in your carryon bag. My Kindle has more than paid for itself, considering the vast library of free "classic" books that I have read for the first time: Moby Dick, Uncle Tom's Cabin, etc.
Regarding the iPad, I don't think that those comparisons are likely to stop anytime soon, which is unfortunate, because buying an iPad exclusively to read books is like buying a a set of exercise weights to hammer in a nail. You can do it, but there are much better things to use it for.

All e-book readers are obsolete now that a common smartphone can accomplish the same task - and more - for the same price. I don't need a bigger screen, and a bigger piece of additional hardware, to lug around. The screen on my phone is about the same width as a typical newspaper column, and just as easy to read.
The same applies to GPS units. The newer smartphones can do all that stuff.

I was just noting yesterday that the price differential between e-books and print books is finally getting to be enough to almost make it worth buying an e-reader giving how much I read, with the drop in price, this may be the move that gets me off the fence and into a nook. I've no problem using the wi-fi only. I've got wi-fi at home and I don't travel enough to need to download content all over the place, and with a savings of $5-$10 per book, the $150 version will pay for itself in about a year given my reading habits.

And if the iPad were an e-reader the above might mean something.

I have to say, I love my Kindle and have from the beginning. The iPads I've seen don't do much for me. I hate not having a keyboard, and the haptics on the onscreen ones are terrible.

The biggest downside to Nooks, iPads, and, I assume, the Kobo as well is that they can't be read in bright sunlight. At this time of year that can make a real difference to me.

common_sense123....people read books to gather information and facts and other peoples opinions and then make decide for themselves what they think after. You can't for an opinion about something if you don't have the facts.

The nook is able to be read in sunlight too because it is not backlit like the ipad.

It's only smart to try and get an edge on Apple, who has been taking over every market they touch. Especially with the iPhone butting into the book world.


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