We've been waiting to see which company--Amazon or Barnes & Noble--would blink first when it came to price cuts for its e-readers, and now we get the answer.
Barnes & Noble not only introduced on Monday a new Wi-Fi-only Nook for $149, but also cut the price of the original Wi-Fi and
Barnes & Noble is also upgrading the software for its Nook e-readers to version 1.4 and offering "complimentary" access to all AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots around the country. But the real news here is the price cuts because the new Nook has only minor design and feature changes; it weighs in at half an ounce less than the Nook 3G and has a white instead of gray back.
When the Nook got off to a rough start with negative reviews from major publications like The New York Times, Barnes & Noble sought to snuff out a number of software bugs and add promised features, such as free in-store streaming for many e-book titles. This is the fourth software upgrade since the Android-powered device launched in November, and the company recently released a new that was generally well received.
The price moves obviously put pressure on Amazon to the cut the price of its
Barnes & Noble's ability to drop the price to $149 for its entry-level e-reader is key because at that price the Nook begins to enter the territory of the impulse purchase.
Of course, someday, e-readers like the Nook and Kindle may cost close to nothing with the purchase of a subscription to an e-book club that requires you to buy a certain number of titles each month. That day is still a little ways off, but we'll see what Amazon has up its sleeve. If it doesn't respond soon, its huge market lead will erode even more quickly as big competitors like Barnes & Noble--and perhaps Apple in the future--make aggressive moves in the e-book market.Note: Early Monday afternoon, Amazon responded to Barnes & Noble's price cut with a , which now costs $189. Additionally, Borders announced that it will bundle a $20 gift card with its $149 Kobo e-reader.