E-Books Look To Stuff Stockings This Holiday

If you're wondering about what's going to be a hot ticket item this holiday season, you'd be making a safe bet banking on e-books.

Way back in the day, Sony had the only game in town with a huge cumbersome e-reader. Eventually Amazon stole the show with their Kindle. For the longest time, Kindle has been the go-to device for e-reading with its plethora of content and grayscale, easy-on-the-eyes screen. However, the growth of the e-reader market has exploded with competitors looking to take over Kindle's throne. A recent article from Fast Company noted that e-books are now a $1 billion industry. With that market size comes more aspiring "Kindle Killers" to take a piece of that pie.

Barnes and Noble's Nook has seen a facelift of late with the release of the Nook Color. This device not only provides a sleek 7-inch color touchscreen to enhance the reader experience but also runs on an Android platform. The Nook upgrade also has a kid-friendly feature in its "Read to Me" application, a feature that has a professional narrator reading select children's books aloud via the device. In addition, Nook Color is a social device, making sharing book discussions a seamless experience for users via Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Other e-readers look to mix things up to. Sony's e-reader provides a lightweight portable device with one redeeming feature - battery life. Sony claims that users are able to enjoy up to two weeks worth of reading enjoyment on one single battery charge (in comparison to Nook Color's eight hour lifespan). Another device that will also crash the e-reader party will be the iPad. Though it's not first and foremost an e-reader, its iBooks application provides a very interactive reading experience for its users and looks to make even more waves in the e-reader scene.

The e-reader market has grown exponentially over the last couple of years. Do you see this being over-hyped? Or will these devices really be a holiday hit?

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Lower Price Points Help Raise Kindle's Value: Merch Monday

Just like it's in a limbo competition, consumers are asking Kindle "How low can you go?"

It's not just the size of the Kindle that is reducing these days. In the continuing battle of e-reader supremacy (something we talked about last January here) Amazon is taking strides attempting to make the Kindle the best bang for its buck.

The newest edition, the Kindle 3, currently has a retail value of $139 and some commentary is leading many to believe that price will drop below $100 by Christmas - an answer to Barnes and Noble's most recent move of dropping their e-reader down to $99.

Like most electronics, lower prices don't always mean less features. As technology grows, consumers gradually get more for their money.  The new Kindle design provides a 21% reduction in size while still maintaining it's 6-inch reading surface. This allows the device to feel lighter than your average paperback book, wi-fi capabilities and darker contrasting text with a no-glare screen to improve the ease of reading for its users. 

Will the Kindle 3 win the battle of the e-readers for the impending holiday season. Amazon will have its work cut out for them but with greater portability and a wide distribution of content via smartphone and tablet applications, they are off to a pretty good start.


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