eBook wars heat up – again

Amazon may be riding high in the eReader rodeo these days with
the release of the new Kindle, but it doesn’t own the market – and it’s feeling
pressure from the competition once again.

Effective Wednesday, Borders will lower the price of its two
eReaders, the Kobo and the Aluratek. The Kobo is falling from $149 to $129. The
Aluratek will drop from $129 to $100, putting it in the sweet spot for

Borders is leading the price war because its readers fall
short on some major features – specifically, they lack both WiFi and 3G and
need to be docked to a PC to download books. But in the current economy, price
alone could turn some consumer’s heads.

Barnes & Noble’s nook device kicked off the price wars,
when the bookseller unveiled a wifi only version in June that prompted Amazon
to slash prices on the Kindle. Amazon upped the stakes last month with the new
version of its device, which sells for $139 and is presently back-ordered
through mid-September.

So far, neither Barnes & Noble nor Amazon has reacted to
the price cuts.

Overshadowing all of these, of course, is the iPad, which
continues to be a retail darling and whose iBooks offering is spreading fast to
other Apple devices, including the iPhone and iPod Touch. While Amazon, Barnes
& Noble and Borders all have apps for the iDevices, letting them make money
on book sales, each is still betting significantly on their own device. 

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