Monday may go down as a significant day in the history of the burgeoning yet challenged eReader market.
In response to what amounted to two price cuts for the Barnes & Noble Nook that sent eReader prices below $200, Amazon cut the price of its market-leading Kindle to $189 Monday afternoon, a significant shave from its $259 price point earlier in the day.
Earlier, Barnes & Noble dropped the price of the Nook e-reader to $199 (from $259) while also introducing a new model, a Wi-Fi-only version of the Nook eReader for $149. This Wi-Fi only option should be very appealing, frankly, as I think many people can live without the always-on 3G connection offered by the Kindle and top-of-the-line Nook.
Barnes & Noble is clearly trying to gain traction over the Kindle — and a new Kindle may be coming in August — by starting this price-cut strategy, but the move also indicates that more robust devices like the iPad and even the iPhone are cutting into eReader sales.
Of course, eReaders are new category of product — like the iPad and smartphones — but because they are basically one-trick ponies (just read, baby), many consumers will opt for the iPad’s multitasking force. Nonetheless, I think eReaders are starting to find the right price point and will remain an attractive option for people who love to read. It would be nice if Amazon offers a less expensive Wi-Fi version as well.
Fast Company thinks this pricing issue is a race to the bottom, but I disagree: I think eReaders will continue to be popular, as long as the prices are right. We are getting there.
A version of this story first appeared on Appolicious.com.