Barnes and Noble has cut the price of its Nook Simple Touch e-reader from $ 99 to $ 79. That's a bold move which positions the Nook at just $ 10 more than Amazon's entry level Kindle - and considering the features included in the Nook, many people will probably see it as well worth an extra $ 10.
The Nook has touch screen functionality, a slot for an SD memory card which allows expansion up to 32 GB, and longer battery life than the Kindle. Based on an average of thirty minutes reading a day, the Simple Touch will go for 8 weeks between charges. The Kindle will last about 4 weeks between charges - also based on half an hour of reading each day.
It's a bold move on Barnes and Noble's part and it really splits the e-reader market into two distinct areas. The entry level e-reader market is now occupied by Amazon's Kindle Wi-Fi and the Nook Simple Touch. The high end e-reader market is now being fought over by the Kindle Paperwhite and the Nook Simple Touch With Glowlight.
Moving even further up the feature rich spectrum, both companies also offer tablet computers as well. Amazon has its Kindle Fire range and Barnes and Noble has its Nook family of tablets.
The e-reader sector is pretty much a two horse race at the moment - and it's hard to see that changing any time soon. Consumers quite obviously prefer to buy their e-reader hardware from companies with some pedigree in the world of books. They clearly have confidence that a book seller such as Amazon or B&N will provide plenty of titles for their hardware and that they will support and develop their e-readers in future.
You can see the logic. With e-reader prices so low, it's difficult to see what motivation anyone would have to buy reader hardware from anyone other than the big two. Why take a chance on a cheap import when the main players are selling readers at such low prices?
And, whilst there's not much doubt that Amazon is Batman to B&N's Robin, Barnes and Noble continue to hang in there, taking the fight to Amazon more often than not. That's important for consumers. Apart from the fact that it's always good to have a choice, it's genuine competition that helps to drive prices downwards and ensure good value for money for the buying public.
So it's good news that B&N shows no sign of throwing in the towel and leaving the way clear for Amazon to dominate uncontested. The latest price cut should ensure that B&N's Nook is found under more than a few Christmas trees this year and drive extra sales well into 2013.
Nook Simple Touch Reader
Amazon Price: $65.00 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 13, 2016)