Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

UPDATE: E-Reader Prices Keep Dropping, Except for Amazon’s Kindle

UPDATE: That didn’t take long.
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The Kindle goes for $259. But I bet if you wait a few weeks, you’ll be able to pick one up for less than $200.

Amazon’s competitors are certainly doing their best to push the Kindle’s price down. Last month, Borders (BGP) introduced the Kobo e-reader at $149; now Barnes & Noble (BKS) is pushing the base price for its Nook to the same level.

That price point doesn’t get you the built-in wireless connection that the Kindle boasts, but if you’re willing to pay $199, you can get that on the Nook, too.

If you want, you can argue that the price wars represent the book chains’ admission that they can’t compete with Amazon any other way. And if you follow that logic, Amazon can keep selling its gadget at a premium of 20 percent or more.

But Amazon (AMZN) is also facing pressure at the high end of the market. For $500, a little less than the price of two Kindles, you can pick up Apple’s (AAPL) entry-level iPad, which does a whole lot more than a basic e-reader. That middle ground is an uncomfortable place to be.

That is why lots of folks believe Amazon will also push the Kindle below $200, while adding new features, soon–“before the end of the summer,” predicts Citigroup (C) analyst Mark Mahaney. So if you’re in the market, it may be worth keeping your credit card sheathed for a month or so.


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