Amazon fired off a new line of Kindle’s today. The new basic Kindle eReader is just $79. The new more advanced Kindle “Touch” (looks like the B&N Nook “Simple Touch”) starts at just $99. And finally, Amazon introduced the new Kindle “Fire” a full color tablet eReader (similar to the B&N “Nook Color) for the very low price of $199.
Obviously Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other eReader manufacturers are in a race-to-the-bottom sprint for the lowest price. Reminds me of the old adage of – give away the razor (eReader devices), – and make money on the razor blades (eBooks, apps, other media).
The former guys-in-charge at Border’s (now sipping rum and Coke on a beach somewhere) must be reading all this and thinking – “Wheee… we got out of that industry – just in time!”
The current guys-in-charge at Barnes & Noble (now sipping coffee in a board room in New York city and shaking their heads) must be reading all this and thinking – “Hmmm… we do we do now?”
It’s not only the low prices that should be worrisome to B&N, but the incredible treasure chest of downloadable media already in place at Amazon. Amazon offers eBooks, a music store, an audio book store, a video store, a cloud storage service, an Android app store and more.
Plus this past week Amazon went live with its arrangement to over 11,000 public libraries in the U.S. to offer eBooks and audio books (Amazon owns Audible the largest distributor of audio books in the U.S.) Barnes & Noble uses Adobe’s ePUB eBook file format and has had pretty much exclusive arrangement with public libraries for the past couple of years.
Is this doom and gloom for Barnes & Noble? Is the Nook dead? I hope not. The Nook Color and the the Nook “Simple Touch” have been the darlings of the eReader world for the past year. Both were rated “Best Buy” in the September 2011 issue of Consumer’s Report.
It has been strongly rumored that B&N will introduce at least two new devices in late September or early October. Let’s hope that they are priced right, and feature laden.