Barnes & Noble lowers GlowLight price to $99

Barnes & Noble lowers GlowLight price to $99

I got a press release from Barnes & Noble today about them lowering the price of the NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight to $99. The

Press Release

is also now up at the website.

The important thing to note here is that this isn’t being announced as a limited-time sale. It looks like this is the new normal price.

Absolutely, that is a good price. Compare it to the

Kindle Paperwhite wi-fi only

at $139 without Special Offers, and $119 with them. Effectively, it’s forty dollars cheaper, unless you allow advertisers to subsidize the initial purchase price (which has been the most popular way to go with Kindles…but some people resent it, even when opting for it).

Two questions here: is this leading up to Barnes & Noble getting out of the reflective screen device business, and will Amazon follow suit by lowering the price of the Paperwhite?

In terms of the first part, I think the answer is no. Barnes & Noble has indicated that they will continue to support reflective screen (not backlit) devices. However, it is worth noting that when I recently wrote about E Ink expecting a big third quarter, the quotation from an analyst was

“To my knowledge, E Ink’s major clients, in particular, U.S.-based Amazon and Japan’s Kobo, are launching new e-reader devices to take the advantage of rising demand in the current quarter…” (emphasis added)

didn’t mention B&N.

B&N’s aggressive approach to tablet marketing is widely seen as having been an over extension. Investors might be happy if they largely stuck with the GlowLight the way it is for a year or so…it’s a good device, and they may not need to be the market’s innovator (and therefore, biggest risk taker) to have it serve its purpose.

Anybody who buys a NOOK does have to be psychologically prepared for major shifts in company support in the future, but I think it might be safe to assume you could use it effectively for another year (which, based on the warrantys, is what you are supposed to figure an EBR…E-Book Reader…lasts, although they can much last longer).

The second question: does this mean a drop in price for the Paperwhite?

Yes, I think it could. Amazon has responded to Barnes & Noble lowering device prices before. I suspect they planned to lower the Paperwhite price anyway when they announce new Kindle hardware, probably before the end of next month. They might figure it’s better to do it now than to let B&N steal a march on them.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see the ad-supported Paperwhite also drop to $99 in the next week, but we’ll see what happens. :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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16 Responses to “Barnes & Noble lowers GlowLight price to $99”

  1. scottishbookworm Says:

    Is there any word yet of Amazon announcing new Kindles? Usually it’s around this time of year, isn’t it? I’m excited to see what they come up with!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, scottishbookworm!

      Amazon hasn’t announced that they are announcing anything yet. :) As to when they do it, we are close to where it’s been recently:

      2012: Thursday, September 6
      2011: Wednesday, September 28

      That’s why I’m figuring by the end of September. They didn’t used to always do September, but remember, we don’t have a lot of data points yet. :)

      2010: Wednesday, July 28 (Kindle 3s)
      2009: Wednesday, October 7 (Kindle 2s)
      2009: Wednesday, May 6 (Kindle DX)
      2007: Monday, November 19 (Kindle 1)

      I haven’t listed international models and such above.

  2. jjhitt Says:

    In the ‘not yet out of the race’ category, the Sony Reader is on sale for $99 as well.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      Good point. Sony started the race in September 2006 (a full year and then some before Amazon introduced the Kindle). However, they’ve never seemed to care that much about it to me, and still don’t. The “Sony tax” (paying more for the brand name) can be upwards of 30%. ;) In this case, neither of the two models they have on sale for $99.99

      http://store.sony.com/c/Sony-Reader-Digital-Books-eReader-WiFi/en/c/S_Portable_Reader

      have lighting, which doesn’t really make it a fair comparison. Certainly, an unlit device can be nice, but the Paperwhite is the most comfortable reading experience I’ve ever had (and that includes paper).

      They only have the two models at this point.

      I think they keep them around for Sony completists, who want everything they own to be Sony. Amazon is getting to that point with some people, or may in the future (An Amazon phone! An Amazon watch! An Amazon microwave with ads on the screen that orders your food for you automatically when you cook the last one)…

      • jjhitt Says:

        As far as I could tell they only have one model in their entire lineup right now. And other than some kind of integration with Evernote, they’re not bringing anything new to the table.

        Just guessing, but they may be more aggressive in nations where Amazon doesn’t have a strong presence and Kobo is the main source of competition.

        Still, think a two digit price is pretty shocking for someone who has been the most expensive reader since day one.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

        The two models are the PRST2HBC and the PRST2RC.

        It may be that they are more aggressive outside the USA, although that’s really just a growing market for EBRs in many places. I believe they weren’t really making headway in Japan before the Kindle arrived there.

        Yes, it’s a low price…although I think it is also relatively low in features.

      • jjhitt Says:

        I think what keeps Sony in the game their huge stockpile of Sony branded entertainment media.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

        Yep, that’s what I meant by having it for completists. There are some Sony products that are still quite good, but I wouldn’t put their EBRs at the top of the heap.

      • Tom Semple Says:

        The only difference that I can see between Sony’s ‘two models’ is that one is available in Black and the other is in White or Red. The internals are the same. By my count that is either one model in 3 colors or three models, one for each color. But this is Sony we are talking about here.
        I have a PRS-T1 and it is a nice reader, I would have rated it the best at the time it shipped in 2011. I think the only thing they changed for the T2 is to add the Evernote integration, remove the MP3/audio capability, and ‘sleekify’ the design, but it is still better than the Nook STR (which is unchanged since 2011) and Kobo Touch IMO. The T1 was $140, which was what everybody else was charging at that time (I got mine for $99 on sale just a few months after it shipped). So I expect their prices will be reasonably competitive. I don’t think there is a significant Sony tax any more.
        B&N seems to be holding their cards close to their chest. I think they will ship a new ereader, if only to incorporate the 1024×758 screen everyone else is using now. It will be interesting to see if they keep the page turn ‘buttons’ (which I don’t think work that well with the current design).
        I don’t see Amazon dropping prices in response to B&N’s as in the past, particularly since it is seen as ‘inventory clearance’ and not an attempt to establish a new price point.

  3. B&N Nook Glow gets price drop to $99 topic | My Blog Says:

    […] [via I Love My Kindle] […]

  4. Joseph Holmberg Says:

    Speaking of Nooks being on sale…there is a Groupon deal for Nook Simple Touch for $49.99.

    http://www.groupon.com/deals/gg-barnes-and-noble-nook-simple-touch

    By the way…I never get to thank you appropriately for the ebook you sent me the other day! so here’s a THANK YOU! :-)

  5. Oldie Suzanne Says:

    I am so very, very tempted on this. I bought a Nook HD at a vastly reduced price, and love the memory card capabilities, the superior volume, and best of all have to buy nothing from B&N as I sideload everything and thus have to have no dealings with their sub-par online customer service. While I enjoy my Kindle PW (despite the multi-colored smudges which I can overlook) I find nothing about the device itself that is better or worse than any other lit devices I have tested.

    Now I have just have to somehow justify the $100 cost after a house move that cost quadruple what I expected!

  6. Edward Boyhan Says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they did NOT lower the price of the paperwhite.

    I think the cost of manufacturing e-ink displays has declined markedly; and I suspect that rather than engage in a short term pricing war with BN, that we’ll see Amazon set a new low benchmark price for RSKs in the fall — perhaps a relabeled and repriced paperwhite, or something completely new.

    I think Amazon has to make RSK purchases a no-brainer — $35 would not be out of line.

    I wouldn’t buy anything at this point — let’s see what the fall announcements bring.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      We’ll see. :) I was thinking that, if the presumed new hardware announcements are a month away and they were going to lower the Paperwhite price anyway, they might just go ahead.

      $35? Hm…I think we’d see $49.99 first, just to have an “under fifty” price.

    • Tom Semple Says:

      I would play devil’s advocate here about pricing. I think sub-$99 pricing was a significant development in terms of attracting customers, but I’m not sure there’s anything to be gained by pricing much lower than today’s $70 Kindle or $80 Kobo mini, except to make them so unattractive that people will spend more for a more capable device. There’s no point in selling devices (most likely at a loss) if the people who end up with them are not going use them and buy ebooks. Higher price points achieve more ‘buy in’ and so people feel more psychological justification in using them and buying ebooks (and don’t give them to people who won’t use them) to ‘get their money’s worth) etc.
      But we will see soon enough.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tom!

        I’ll respond to both comments here. :)

        The key thing is that I think there is a lot of value in getting EBR (E-Book Reader) prices quite a bit lower.

        As a former store manager, I can see this as the “population of sales” strategy. It’s not about each individual transaction, on some of which you lose money. It’s about cementing the relationship and making money overall.

        In this case, I think part of that involves children.

        Getting something down to a $20 or even $10 price point means that you buy them casually for kids (in part, because you don’t worry so much about them losing them, breaking them, or having them stolen). If you kid has a Kindle, you’ll chose that for your own EBR. If you have a Kindle for an EBR, you’ll want a Kindle Fire for your tablet (at least, you’ll be more likely to want that…this is a probability chain, not an absolute progression). If you have a Kindle Fire, you’ll want Prime. If you have Prime, you’ll buy your “diapers and windshield wipers” from Amazon…and then they’ll make money. :) You may also get your phone, your web services, and maybe your TV and microwave ;) branded by Amazon, eventually.

        I mean, I can see a time you get your medical care from Amazon…

        A $25 loss is a cheap way to buy a customer for life…

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