The problem facing the e-reader device category is the old balance between being a specialist and a jack-of-all-trades. People I know who have used a Kindle or other such device often like the combination of ease on the eyes, battery life, and light weight. It's a specialty machine. The iPad is different: somewhat heavier, bigger, display not optimized for extensive print reading, and more expensive. But the iPad can run a browser and apps, play music, display video, and other functions not widely or easily available on most e-book readers.
Apple's impressive run at selling iPads have put the e-book readers into a funk. Consumers are unlikely to purchase both, especially as they expect an iPad to display books, and why buy an additional device? So the e-book reader vendors have begun to try significant promotions to either get people to buy one of their devices or convince them to download free software and books onto someone else's device.
- Borders will give away free e-books from today through Wednesday. The titles are limited but free. Consumers just need to download the company's software.
- Barnes & Noble has decided to boost interest with a free small coffee for people who go into one of their stores and show an e-book on the company's reader software.
- Both Barnes & Noble and Amazon dropped prices on their reader hardware.
- Discounted E-Readers: Don't Call it a Price War -- It's a Wake-Up Call
- How Apple Will Whip Amazon in E-Books: Paying Publishers More
- The New Yorker's Ken Auletta Needs a Calculator, Not an E-Book Reader
- Apple Dictates Max E-Book Prices and Big Publishing Is Scared
- Amazon Battles Apple by Arm-Twisting Book Publishers