The Kindle Fire unveiling just wrapped up in New York and included a couple of interesting surprises. In addition to the Kindle Fire, Amazon is also releasing a new Kindle e-reader called the Kindle Touch, a brand spankin’ new black-and-white touchscreen e-reader.
Weighing in at 7.5 ounces, the Kindle Touch is 8% lighter than previous versions and the body is 11% smaller, while featuring the same six-inch screen. It also comes with some cool new features, like a new “X-Ray” feature that allows you to tap on terms to get Wikipedia links and information. Additional features include 4 GB of internal storage so it can hold up to 3,000 books, free cloud storage for all Amazon content, and two months of battery life (with wireless turned off and doing only 30 minutes of reading per day).
The Wi-Fi Kindle Touch will be priced at $99 while the 3G version will be priced at $149. Both will begin shipping November 21 and are available for pre-order today.
The new pricing acknowledges a number of analysts’ predictions that the Kindle will truly explode once it breaks the $99 price barrier.
But the low prices don’t stop there. Bezos also announced that Amazon’s “special offers” Kindle has been dropped to a shocking all-time low of just $79. That even beats out the one-time sale Amazon had last holiday season on the old Kindle, which was briefly on sale for $89.
In Amazon’s last earnings report, Jeff Bezos credited the Kindle with Special Offers with driving up sales. The e-commerce giant’s net sales increased 51% to $9.91 billion for the quarter, compared to $6.57 billion in the same quarter last year.
Barnes & Noble is going to have to hop to it and figure out a way to give the Nook a makeover AND drop the price to keep up. (The first edition Nook is currently available for $89, so that’s a start.) Last quarter, Barnes & Noble reported that the consolidated Nook business across all business segments, including digital sales and sales of hardware and accessories, increased 140% to $277 million.
But Barnes & Noble shareholders might be getting worried. The book retailer’s stock dropped 8.3% this morning to $12.11.
Amazon share prices were up 3.3% to more than $231.