Can Sony's cheaper eReader upset the Kindle?

Thursday, 13 August 2009 - 4:42pm

The Amazon Kindle may have achieved dominant mind share in e-book readers, but Sony is hoping to grab the attention of potential adopters by offering the cheapest e-reading device.

The Sony Reader Pocket Edition (PRS-300), a 5-inch e-book reader announced yesterday, will only cost $199, beating Amazon's Kindle 2 by $100. In July, Amazon dropped the price of the Kindle 2 to $299, knocking more than 15% off of its retail price.

Shortly after lowering the price of the Kindle 2, NPD announced a study on e-readers which shows that interest in the devices is not limited to "the avid affluent bestseller reader," but that widespread adoption will be achieved by an affordable device which supplies up-to-date magazine-style content.

While it will be providing the most affordable e-reader thus far, Sony has still not announced a comprehensive plan for magazine distribution. Instead, the company yesterday announced that it will cut the price of best-sellers to $9.99.

Amazon's Kindle, on the other hand, offers subscriptions to a large number of Kindle-formatted magazines such as Newsweek, Time, The New Yorker, and The Economist. Issues are automatically pushed to the subscriber's Kindle as they become available and incur only a moderate subscription fee.