Sunday, June 27, 2010

Barnes & Noble's Nook Joining a Crowded Market

Barnes & Noble, Inc. unveiled a new dedicated eBook reading device and cut the price of their eight-month old reader, the Nook 3G, from $259 to $199, to put it well below the price of Amazon's Kindle International, which remains at $259.

Priced at just $149, the new Nook Wi-Fi includes the same features of the Nook 3G -- including a color touch screen for navigation, an E-Ink display and Wi-Fi connectivity -- but lacks 3G connectivity. The price is also identical to that of Borders' recently introduced Kobo eBook reading device, which, according to the company, saw its original batch sold out with new products set to ship on July 2.

A recent report from Simba Information, the leading market research firm specializing in publishing and media, titled Trade E-Book Publishing 2010, shows just how crowded the market for dedicated eBook devices has become despite the many consumers who continue to trust the No. 1 device (the Personal Computer according to proprietary data fully analyzed within the report). In addition, multi-use devices such as Apple's iPad are going after the segment with equal vigor as Barnes & Noble's new, low-priced Nook -- which is likely to make the bookseller's rivals frown.

"I'm sure Borders would have preferred to be left alone on the low-cost dedicated eBook device side," said Michael Norris, senior analyst for Simba Information's Trade Books Group. "But as our report shows, none of these dedicated devices stay on the market very long before a newer, better, faster, cheaper one comes along. I'm sure Amazon, which has cut the price of the Kindle repeatedly over the years, will respond with a price cut of its own, a newer Kindle, or both."

Trade E-Book Publishing 2010 drew much of its analysis from a Simba Information survey of over 1,880 U.S. adults administered in February and March 2010, as well as over a year's worth of bestseller analysis from the e-bookstores of Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Sony, among others. The report compares the top categories of each bookstore to one another and to national print bestseller lists to determine what types of e-books consumers are demanding and contains an analysis of pricing strategies. New to this edition is a section on the price sensitivity of e-books, as well as updated information on last year's report, which determined 8% of the U.S. adult population bought at least one e-book in the prior 12-month period.


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