Amazon is dropping the price on its Kindle e-reader to $189 from $259, reports The Wall Street Journal, while Barnes & Noble has cut the price of its Nook e-reader to $199. At the same time, Barnes & Noble is introducing a new scaled-back version of the Nook that will sell for $149. This less expensive model will offer Wi-Fi Internet access only.
Amazon's larger, higher-capacity Kindle DX with global wireless, which retails for $489, will not be affected by the drop in price of the basic Kindle model.
The price cuts may, however, affect a couple of the new kids on the e-reader block. Earlier this month Borders announced the arrival of its Libre, expected to be available next month with the lowest price of all: $119.99. Also available this summer will be Kobo, Border's slightly more expensive e-reader which will sell for $149.99. With price cuts looming on the Kindle and the Nook, however, Kobo and Libre could lose a bit of luster.
For consumers the price wars can only be a good thing – and for those really looking for a bargain the best answer may be to wait a bit longer. As Baltimore Sun book blogger Dave Rosenthal suggests, e-book sellers may end up taking a lesson from the shaving-product companies: "Give away the razors for a low price, and make your money on the blades."
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.