The E-Reader Wars Just Got Hotter

Your summer of reading just got hotter, as now you not only have a ton of new release books to choose from, but a cheaper, more eco-friendly way to read them. Yes, the e-reader wars continued last week, as both Barnes & Noble and Amazon dropped the price of their readers, and that only spells good news for us in the future.

When they were first introduced on the market, e-readers sold for as much as $500 each, much like the iPad. Now, with so many companies jumping on the bandwagon to get their own version of the Kindle out there, prices are dropping faster than a bag of a sand. What does that mean for you? Well, a cheaper e-reader, of course.

While not everyone is ready to make the switch from print to e-Ink technology, there’s no denying the impact e-readers have had on the publishing industry. New York is scrambling to keep up, trying to figure out pricing for digital books, while content creators are reaping their own rewards with such platforms as Amazon’s DTP and Apple’s iTunes Connect allowing them to upload their own books, get full profit, and cut out New York in the process.

Last week’s brouhaha all started when Barnes & Noble dropped the price of its Wi-Fi Nook to just $150, and their 3G model to $199. Amazon quickly followed suit, dropping their 3G Kindle from $259 to $189, $10 cheaper than Barnes & Noble. The Kindle Wi-Fi is currently sitting at just $149. With prices like those, and with their reputation, it’s almost impossible for companies like Kobo to keep up. Their introductory e-reader is still priced at $149, and it does not have Wi-Fi or 3G. Sony is still currently behind the times with its e-readers selling for $169, $199, and $349.

Now, I’ve just thrown a lot of numbers at you, but here’s one more. Sales of e-readers are expected to reach 5 million units by the end of this year (not including the iPad), which is up from 2.2 million in 2009. Amazing. With numbers and prices like that, it would be no surprise to see e-readers less than $100 dollars in 2011, something that is predicted to happen among industry experts.

Personally, I love my Sony Reader. I’ve seen and played with the Kindle, the Kobo, and for my tastes, Sony is by far the more durable. I found that out after dropping it on the ground without a case, with only a tiny scratch on the side to show for it. I have yet to hold a Nook, but from what I’ve heard, it’s similar in weight to the Kindle. Correct me if I’m wrong. Of course, I bought mine back in 2009, when the Kindle was still too overpriced for my budget. That brings up another point. Budget.

With e-readers competing for everyday users who, in the tough economy, find it hard to justify spending their hard earned dollars on electronic devices, who do you think is going to win out in these e-reader wars? The company with the cheaper product, of course. Why spend $200 on a device for your kid, when you can get the same thing for $150? It makes no sense.

With the iPad now on the market, the competition for cheap e-readers is only going to get hotter and hotter. When it’s all said and done, your wallet is going to be a lot heavier than you might have expected, making you the real winner.