eReaders: Barnes & Noble gets serious

Barnes & Noble’s nook eReader has hardly been
struggling, but the company’s device hasn’t exactly been top of mind for most
shoppers. The iPad and Amazon Kindle tend to leap to most people’s minds first.
Today, the company is taking steps to change that.

It’s doing so in a way that makes a lot of sense: Cost.
Barnes & Noble has announced a new version of the nook that eschews the 3G
connection and only uses Wi-Fi. They’ve smartly priced it at $149.

To make itself more competitive in the broader market, the
company has also cut the price of its Wi-Fi/3G model from $149 to $199. That’s $40
cheaper than the primary Kindle. The 3G/Wi-Fi version, which is a better
apples-to-apples comparison, remains $10 more, but with the nook’s extra features
(such as eBook lending to friends), it’s still a big step.

The Kindle DX remains at an astonishingly expensive $489.

This isn’t going to be enough to derail the iPad’s momentum,
but let’s face it – the eReader market is quickly becoming a battle for second
place. It will, however, keep Barnes & Noble in the race – and should
really begin to show significant benefits around the holiday season.

(Edit: The original post should have pointed out that Amazon’s $189 price for the Kindle was in reaction to Barnes & Noble’s move. The device was selling for $259 as early as yesterday.)


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