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Prices Slashed For Nook, Kindle E-Readers 255

Posted by kdawson
from the free-falling dept.
b0bby sends in a report from ZDNet about the sudden outbreak of a price war in e-reader devices. "On Monday, Barnes & Noble cut the price of the 3G Nook to $199. It also launched a $149 Wi-Fi version. Just hours later, Amazon responded by cutting the price of the Kindle to $189. At $259, the price of the Kindle and Nook just 24 hours ago, an e-reader purchase competed with an Apple iPad, which started at $499 for a Wi-Fi version. Below $200, a dedicated e-reader purchase makes a lot more sense." Sony dropped prices for its readers three months ago, but the move didn't kick off a price war at that time. Some believe that dedicated e-readers are doomed in the long run to lose out to general-purpose devices such as the iPad — and its coming imitators, many of which will be based on Google Android.
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Prices Slashed For Nook, Kindle E-Readers

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  • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Monday June 21, 2010 @08:10PM (#32647812)
    e-Ink is more expensive than you think (I don't have a definitive price, but according to this link [engadget.com] the cost to Amazon for the e-Ink display on the Kindle is $60 by itself). Tack on the cost of the processor, memory, networking gear, battery, casing, quality control, etc., and the supposed cost to Amazon is $185. Given that prices have probably dropped a bit since that report, I suspect they are making a small profit on each device (though of course the cost of warranty replacements probably removes even that). The money is in e-Book sales; each sale may be for less than the hardcover, and the publishers may take a large cut, but what remains is pure profit; sale and distribution of pure data is effectively free.
  • by masmullin (1479239) <masmullin@gmail.com> on Monday June 21, 2010 @08:30PM (#32648004)

    I own both a Sony reader and an iPad. The Sony reader is far better at reading fiction than the iPad. The iPad is great for more technical stuff and magazine like reading.

  • by bflong (107195) on Monday June 21, 2010 @08:55PM (#32648206)

    You only got one of your android facts right. In your quest to find out which one it is I'm sure you will learn much.

  • by chill (34294) on Monday June 21, 2010 @09:10PM (#32648312) Journal

    Reading the details the Nook will allow you to hook up for free to any B&N or AT&T WiFi hotspot. If you're in a B&N bookstore, you can "read" any of the ebooks for free. You can't take them with you if don't buy them. So, you can just come in and kill a few hours drinking over-priced coffee and reading like at a library.

    They also have a "lending" function, as long as you use their software. I won't buy DRM books, but for people who don't mind you can "lend" an e-book to a friend for 14 days. Works with the iPod, Android, Mac & PC as well as some other platforms. Oh, and the Nook runs Android.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:11PM (#32648646) Journal

    e-Ink is more expensive than you think (I don't have a definitive price, but according to this link [engadget.com] the cost to Amazon for the e-Ink display on the Kindle is $60 by itself).

    GP is still fundamentally correct - e-Ink displays are overpriced. The reason why that is the case is that there is a single company - E Ink Corporation [wikipedia.org] - holding key patents on technology, and maintaining monopoly on production.

    Then again, what is "overpriced"? I paid $300 for a Sony PRS-505 two years ago, and, given the amount of use the device has got over that time period - more than any other gadget I own, with the exception of cellphone - consider it money well spent.

    So, YMMV - largely depending on what you read, and how much. For people who read fiction a lot (as in, 1 book per week or more), I'd highly recommend one.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:24PM (#32648736) Journal

    I disagree. I've owned a Sony Reader and an iPad. The iPad is, hands down, easier on the eyes.
    The Kindle and other eInk displays have a contrast ratio of 6:1 to 7:1. The iPad backlit IPS display is 750:1 to 930:1.

    You do realize that overly high contrast is precisely what causes eyestrain? (in general, and especially common when staring at a computer/gadget screen)

  • by failedlogic (627314) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:32PM (#32648790)

    I think what he is talking about is taking FedEx or UPS out of the map. Amazon usually offers free shipping on orders over $25. I'm in Canada so its around $40. Anyways, I remember because there's a lot more stuff on Amazon.com (partner resellers etc), that people would find $0.99 items or less when their order was nudging on the free shipping price. That second item will cost Amazon more than its worth FWIW.

    A fair amount of bandwidth is gobbled up just browsing the Amazon website. Amazon has to upkeep their website anyways. So I think the cost of delivery of the digital goods which would probably be a few bits and bytes more than some other user is friendlier to Amazon's pockets than paying free shipping on parcel delivery regardless if its a minimum order or a $1000 order books or not. I'd wager digital delivery is also friendlier on the environment.

  • by stephanruby (542433) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:35PM (#32648816)

    That's why it only sells on the closed networks in the US.

    Which closed network? T-Mobile? AT&T? Verizon? Sprint? MetroPCS? Is there even a single actual network that doesn't sell Android phones anymore? Go ahead. I dare you. Name a single one. Or did you mean Android only sold on all the networks of the US (therefore implying that all the networks in the US are closed)? Because, I can tell you. I'm currently in the UK right now, and there isn't a single shop in the UK that doesn't have Android devices on sale right now and that aren't selling like hot cakes. And sure, the iPhone is still very popular in the UK right now, but at the sales counter where it counts, it's getting assaulted by several very good Android phones that are all selling just as well as the iPhone. It's not fair fight anymore. One phone against 39 phones, several of which are actually far superior to the new iPhone.

    That's why 75% of Android devices run v1.6.

    No, it's more like 50% of the Android devices are running v2.1. I can cite my source [android.com]. Can you even cite yours?

    Being able to port desktop C apps over rather than rewrite in Java only becomes even more important.

    Please repeat after me: The C and C++ apps of the Android NDK do not run on the Dalvik VM. The C and C++ apps of the Android NDK do not run on the Dalvik VM. Please repeat this [cnet.com] one hundred times.

    and the next thing you know "Android will be better next year!"

    If anyone is saying that, and repeating it ad nausea um, you're the only one. I've corrected your strawman argument plus several of your other factual errors in your other threads. But you don't even seem to even read my responses, or even care about citing your sources.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:59AM (#32649642) Journal

    No I don't realize this. Source?

    JFGI [google.com].

    In fact, it seems nonsensical on its face. Picture playing an FPS on a Kindle display that refreshes at LCD speeds. Would it be less of a strain to see your targets, or more of one?

    I don't understand why you're bringing up refresh rate - it's an altogether different issue, and it is entirely orthogonal to contrast. For book reading, it's also mostly irrelevant.

    Anyway, the simplest way is to test it for yourself by playing with the contrast settings of whatever you read books from, and noticing the level that is most forgiving on the eyes.

    Oh yes... too little contrast also causes eyestrain. However, it is much more typical for people to have contrast jacked way up on their displays than to have it low. Another common problem is keeping contrast suitable for daylight into the night, with no or little ambient lighting.

    And with decent lighting, the contrast of a good eInk screen is fine. It doesn't quite reach the perfect level - that would require a tad lighter background - but it can match a typical paper book, which is good enough.

    it's fairly easy to lower the contrast on a LCD using software and often possible to dim the backlight using hardware.

    It's true, and my comment didn't contradict that; only your assertion that extra contrast of iPad makes it superior for reading.

    So why isn't everyone running their monitors in low-contrast Kindle mode?

    You'd do your eyes good if you read text from them for long periods of time; indeed, that's precisely what I do on the rare occasion when I read from my netbook. However, more often you're dealing with media richer than text, and colors in particular are better perceived with higher-contrast display.

    BTW, I own an iPod and a Kindle, and despite the legions of Kindle fans constantly insisting how much better the latter's screen is, I totally prefer reading on my little backlit iPod.

    I don't own a Kindle, and have only tried it a few times when it was on display in the store. I do, however, own two other eInk-based readers. Judging by a few replies that I've got in comments to this story from people who used Kindle more, its display quality is sub-par for eInk standards. The one I can personally recommend, from using for 2 years, is Sony PRS-505 - its screen seems to be higher-contrast than even the later Sony readers that I've seen.

    I do wonder how you deal with the extra weight (more than 2 times compared to Kindle, and almost 3 times compared to PRS-505) of the iPad when holding it with one hand for reading...

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @01:42AM (#32649846) Homepage Journal

    >>Not to mention that the 3G iPad is $130 extra, and doesn't include free 3G for the store so you can make an impulse book buy wherever you are. That's major in the convenience factor of the device.

    Yeah, exactly. Paying for 3G is a huge issue - it's like adding $360/year to the cost of an iPad. B&N also offers 20% the purchase of a Nook, which is nice. They were offering it for $259-($50 free gift certificate)=$209 up through yesterday, so I guess the price reduction to $199 makes sense.

    To contrast the two:
    Nook 3G: $199, 3G+Wifi (no monthly), 2G+MicroSD storage, digital ink + color touchscreen, Android (easily rootable)
    iPad 3G: $629, 3G+Wifi (used to be $30/mo unlimited, now $25/mo for 2G), 16G non-expandable storage, nice color touchscreen, iPhone OS, much better at surfing the web, sending email, and looking at photos.

    Without a doubt, if all I wanted was an ebook reader, I'd get a Nook. If I wanted a general purpose portable device to surf the web and send email... well, I wouldn't buy an iPad. I'd just keep using my Android smartphone. I have no desire to drop that kind of cash for an iPad.

  • by Splintax (828933) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @09:44AM (#32652382)
    Neither of those devices has practical functionality beyond reading ebooks. Compared to the iPad they are "dedicated" e-readers.

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