Ever since the release of the iPad, we’ve been waiting for the e-book reader price drop. If the iPad, with its color screen, long battery life, fast processor, and huge app store can sell for $500, how could the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook survive at $259? Today seems to be the day of reckoning: E-book readers are in a race to the bottom.
Kindle announced today that the Kindle 2, with its Whispernet 3G, will see a price cut from $259 to $189. That sub-$200 price point could make a huge difference for buyers turned off by the usually high price of the two top e-book readers.
So how does the newly priced Kindle compete with the Nook? The Nook is available in two configurations: the 3G version is priced at $199, $10 more than the equivalent Kindle but still under $200, while the Nook’s new Wi-Fi-only version drastically undercuts both the 3G versions at $149. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if that new Wi-Fi-only Nook ends up selling particularly well–$149 is very nearly impulse buy territory.
The two 3G readers are fairly comparable. The Kindle has the more established name, bigger store, longer battery life, and simpler interface, while the Nook has a color screen, runs Android (meaning you’ve got a Web browser and a whole bunch of apps), can rent e-books from public libraries, and has that cool lending feature (you can send an e-book to a friend for two weeks). The Nook is more capable, but the Kindle is easier to use. I’m not sure the $10 price difference is going to change anyone’s mind in this case–they’re both great devices for different reasons.