At home down-market

Amazon slashes prices on the Kindle e-reader

Mark Lennihan/AP / Bloomberg/Getty Images

Online bookseller Amazon generated big buzz when its Kindle e-reader went on sale for $399 in 2007. But the arrival of the iPad this year, with its full-colour touchscreen, e-reader and Internet-browsing capabilities, had the effect of making the Kindle and its black-and-white display seem dated literally overnight. As a result, Amazon and other makers of e-readers are now hoping their machines will find a comfortable home down-market. This week Amazon slashed the Kindle’s price by US$70 to US$189.

The price cut came on the same day as a similar move by bookstore Barnes & Noble, which reduced the price of its Nook e-reader by a comparable amount (to US$199). That means e-readers like the Kindle are now lot cheaper than Apple’s more functional iPad, which starts at US$499 ($549 in Canada). But it remains to be seen whether consumers think it’s still too much to pay for what increasingly looks like yesterday’s technology.