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Let the holiday eReader sales war begin!

Let's check the calendar here a moment: August 31, 2010. Christmas is still about 115 days away (have you bought something for me yet?), which means Black Friday and the start of the holiday shopping season is about 85 days away, give or take a few.

Why am I getting excited about Christmas when Labor Day is only a couple of days away?

It's quite simple: The eReader holiday sales war officially began today!

Borders just announced that its Libre device crossed the $100 threshold to $99 from $119. Meanwhile, its big brother, Kobo, dropped in price to $129 from $149.

Holy price war!

Why is this a big development? It's thus because now eReaders are at an impulse buy price point. It means that is a price a reader can now look at an eReader and say, "Hmmm. Maybe I will jump onto that bandwagon, seeing as its now in an acceptable price range that I can afford."

It also comes at a very key time in the eReader Wars: Amazon just released the new Kindle last week, and that device, with your choice between white, graphite, wi-fi only or 3G and wi-fi combined, is currently on back order for mid-September delivery. As of this writing, Kindle is still at $139 for the wi-fi only model, and still $189 for the 3G/wi-fi. The DX is still $379. Barnes & Noble still sells its comparable-to-Kindle (I say that tongue-in-cheek) models at $149 and $199, respectively. And over at Sony, the lowest-priced eReader is $149.

The last time we saw a price cut came when B&N introduced the wi-fi only nook, while Amazon still had the K2 at $259. Within a few hours, Amazon cut the price of the K2 to $189, $10 cheaper than B&N's 3G/wi-fi reader at $199.

This cut may not make Amazon or Barnes & Noble worried; after all, with Kobo and Libre, readers still have to tether their units to a computer in order to download books. It could, however, like I wrote earlier, cause a stampede to Borders stores. A $99 eReader? Sure, I'd go for that. It's within my budget.

If I were Amazon and B&N, I'd make the call. Lower the price.

Still, smart move by Borders.

***

In another deal announced today -- which, in hindsight, looks somewhat pale compared to Borders' announcement -- Amazon announced it reached a deal with Staples to sell Kindle in its stores beginning this fall.

I love this idea, even more than the Target deal. Staples' staff is professional and knows the products they sell. I wouldn't be shocked if Staples employees begin eReader training by the middle of next week.

If I had a choice between Staples and Target, I'd pick Staples every time and twice on Sunday.

Kudos, Amazon. Now lower the price.

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