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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.

www.johnfitchv.com
John's Amazon Author Central page
John's Smashwords listings

Dating in the eReader World

My girlfriend and I have been together for nearly 13 months. Estee is a beautiful, Ivy League-educated young woman. Yours truly is a simple high school graduate who just happens to be an author. Why, do you ask, is she with me, when she could have doctors or lawyers?

The answer: Because I read.

Yep. That's right. It's not because of money or how many degrees I have on my wall (looks at the barren wall). I read, therefore I am loved.

Guys, let's face it. Women LOVE men who are intelligent. Women LOVE men who read. Women enjoy talking about books, and love to bring their men into a conversation about books. And with the advancement of eReaders into our lives, a guy in possession of an eReader, whether it be Kindle or nook, Sony or Kobo, will have a better chance at scoring a date than a moron who doesn't read.

Imagine it: An idyllic college quad with shade trees and a young man sitting against the trunk. He's reading the newest John Fitch V novel on his Kindle. He's not the best looking guy on campus, but he's read the classics -- TURNING BACK THE CLOCK, for instance -- and enjoys talking about literature. He'd much rather read than go out and get sloshed at a party.

A young woman, about the same age, walks through the quad and sees this young man reading away. She stops and admires him from a distance, wondering what he's reading. She feels the light heft of her own eReader in her backpack. She grins a little and her eyes brighten. She decides to walk up to him.

Her: Hi there.

Him, looking up: Hi... how are you?

Her: I'm great. Whatcha reading? You show me yours and I'll show you mine. *winks*

Him, feeling his heart accelerate a tad: Excuse me?

Her, blushing: Your eReader. *she pulls out her own*

After a few minutes of gentle conversation about books, she gives him her number. He goes back to his book, reading with a smile on his face.

eReaders will be the new conversation starter, folks. And a guy carrying an eReader will be overwhelmed with digits. Remember: an eReader is small enough to carry in the cargo pocket of your shorts/pants! Instant digit catch, guys.

Your Uncle Johnny wouldn't lie.

www.johnfitchv.com
John's Amazon Author Central page
Smashwords placement
About a month and a half ago, I wrote a blog about how Amazon may have to consider lowering the price of the Kindle hand held eReader in order to keep its foothold on the market, especially with the influx of eReaders that will invade the United States this summer. To read that post, click here.

I was partially right, and partially wrong. I was right about Amazon reducing the price on the Kindle; they had to. I was wrong about who was threatening Kindle's market share.

With Barnes & Noble lowering the price of the nook from $259 to $199 (the 3G version, that is; the nook with simple wi-fi is down to $149), Amazon had to respond. It was announced yesterday, June 21, that the Kindle 2 -- which has 3G wireless -- has come down to $189, $10 cheaper than the nook.

Advantage: Amazon.

Here are my thoughts on the matter.

Absolutely brilliant attempts at oneupsmanship by both B&N and Amazon. They see the writing on the wall and know what is coming this summer over at Borders. Borders is trying to overthrow B&N and Amazon in the eReader realm by introducing KOBO and Libre at $149 and $119, respectively.

While I've blogged about KOBO (see the above link), Libre is a new eReader that hasn't been released yet (July 20 is the release date). It is too early to tell how well how it will sell, but some people may see the prices and choose to buy one of those eReaders for that fact alone. It is the same thing with the Sony Reader; for a while, Sony had the less expensive eReader on the market.

I just looked at the specs page on the Borders web site, and it does not say if Libre has wireless capabilities; it has a USB cord, so I'm thinking no. The same with KOBO, the same with Sony. Wireless means instantaneous availability. Even though the price is right, I will pay a little extra to be able to download a book wirelessly and away from my computer.

There is also the fact that B&N will allow authors to directly upload their work to their system, much like Amazon does with the Digital Text Platform. Nook has wireless, much like Amazon. While an author will use Smashwords to upload their books for the other eReaders and the iPad, comsumers will still need to use a USB cord to load books onto their eReaders.

Wireless is better, folks. And the maneuvering by B&N and Amazon to lower their prices is just the start of the price war that is going to show readers that digital reading is the way to go.

www.johnfitchv.com
John's Amazon Author Central store
Smashwords

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