The price tag for e-readers will drop below the $100 threshold Wednesday when Borders starts selling its Aluratek Libre eBook Pro device $99.99.
The book retailer also announced Tuesday that the Kobo e-Reader will go on sale Wednesday for $129.99, $20 less than its previous price. The Borders Website is offering buyers a $149.99 Kobo device with a free $20 gift card, essentially lowering the price to $129.99 already.
Borders CEO Mike Edwards described the moves as a way for “even more Borders customers to purchase e-readers at a great value.”
Experts have been predicting for some time that e-reader prices would fall below $100, primarily those with so-called e-ink displays.
The Libre has an LCD monitor that Borders calls “easy-to-read,” though most analysts believe such screens can prove difficult to view when used for hours at a time. The Libre appears to be more focused on multimedia use—it includes a built-in MP3 player.
The Kobo device, by contrast, uses e-ink technology, which is said to be easier to use in bright sunlight, and offers many shades of gray.
Borders has described its strategy as one that offers a range of devices. It noted that it also sells the Android-based Velocity Micro Cruz Reader R101 and Cruz Tablet T103 devices on its Web site for $199.99 and $299.99 respectively. Both devices include 7-inch color touchscreens and Web browsing capabilities.
Borders may have started the e-reader price wars last spring when it unveiled the $149.99 Kobo .
Amazon.com last week started shipping an e-ink third-generation Kindle with Wi-Fi technology for $139, while Barnes & Noble has now priced its Nook e-reader at $149 on Wi-Fi.
Yankee Group analyst Dmitriy Molchanov recently predicted that the price of some e-readers with black-and-white e-ink display would be dropping to $50, probably next year, while some manufacturers will focus on multi-function color screens that will sell for higher prices. This fall, color e-paper displays are also expected to appear.
Many analysts believe customers will compare various e-readers to the iPad, with its 9.7-inch backlit LED display, starting at $499. The iPad offers a range of multimedia functions.