The mythical $99 eReader is already here

No, it’s not the $139 Kindle WiFi we’re talking about – though you have to admit the difference between $99 and $139 isn’t very much.

We are talking about all the eReaders that are already available for $99.

$99 eReaders already available

Newegg already has three eReaders for $99 –

  1. Astak Mentor is down from $279.99 to $99.99.  
  2. Foxit eSlick is down from $299.99 to $99.99. Not recommended since the company has gone bankrupt and support is likely to be non-existent. 
  3. Until yesterday the Bookeen Cybook Opus was at $99.99. It’s now missing and presumably sold out.

Thanks to commenters at MobileRead for these updates.

The $99 eReaders are pretty decent

These aren’t terrible eReaders –

  1. Cybook Opus has a 5″ screen, weighs just 5.3 ounces, has 1 GB of memory, and has a 200 dpi eInk screen. It also has an accelerometer. It supports ePub and PDF. It used to be $249, then was selling at NewEgg for $199, and yesterday its price was cut to $99.
  2. Foxit eSlick used to be $299. It’s still available. It’s .4″ thick and weighs just 6.4 ounces. It has an SD card slot. It also supports ePub and PDF. It has a 6″ eInk screen with 4 levels of gray.
  3. Astak Mentor used to be $279. It has a 6″ enk screen and supports ePub and PDF. It has 170 dpi screen resolution. It supports Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

These are decentish eReaders – Astak and Foxit are rated 3 stars and Cybook Opus is rated 4 stars (explains why it sold out). Now, all three have been dropped from the $250 to $300 price range to $99.

The Cybook at $99 is a steal – Didn’t realize it had 200 dpi and was just 5.3 ounces until now or would have bought it.

Kindle WiFi as the destroyer of eReader worlds

Why are these $250 and $300 eReaders being discounted to $100?

Well, you have the Kindle WiFi come in at $139 with the new eInk Pearl screen and a dozen different improvements – It blows away everything else.

If eReader companies want to clear stock they have to price their eReaders below $139 and the most convenient price point below $139 is $100. At $99 you break a major threshold – Apparently, there are a lot of people won’t buy an eReader unless it’s below the magical $100 figure.

Everyone’s moving towards $99 eReaders

It’s not just the bankrupt companies and the smart, tiny companies that are moving to $100. The Big 3 (Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader) are moving to $100 too –

  1. Nook WiFi came in at $149 and started the trend. Though perhaps we should credit Kobo.
  2. The Kindle WiFi came in at just $139. That affected everyone – especially as it has the new eInk Pearl screen.
  3. Sony Store now has the Pocket Edition PRS 300 for $149 with a free $25 gift card.  
  4. Kobo is down to $128 at Walmart until end of the week. By the way, the geniuses at Kobo don’t have a link to buy the Kobo on their ebooks site (update: there’s one hidden in the bottom navigation bar). We know your eReader isn’t as good as Kindle or Nook but at least let readers make up their own minds.   
  5. P. C. Richard & Son has Sony PRS 300 for $99.96. 

All the claims that we’re going to see $99 eReaders by the end of the year are missing the fact that we already have $99 eReaders.

$99 eReaders are ALREADY here and they’re selling out

The Cybook Opus is a great example of a $250 eReader that has no choice expect to price itself at $99 to survive.

It’s a pretty good eReader. The 4 star rating proves it. These are all people who bought it for $199.

Would anyone consider Cybook Opus at $199 or $250 when Kindle WiFi is just $139? For that matter, would anyone consider Cybook Opus at $139 given the Kindle WiFi has the new eInk Pearl screen?

The only option left for Bookeen is to price the Cybook Opus at $99, get rid of stock, and go back to the drawing board.

The Press is predictably behind the curve

The focus of the Press has been on how the more expensive eReaders are struggling. However, the $200 and $250 eReaders are struggling far more.

The Press felt that the Kindle at $139 meant that we would see $99 eReaders by end of the year. It didn’t realize that there are a lot of 2nd generation eReaders that just can’t compete with the new $139 Kindle WiFi and that these newly outdated eReaders would have to drop to $99 to sell their stock.

The mythical $99 eReader is already here.

It’s got the same screen as the Kindle 2 did. It’s got ePub and PDF support. It’s available in 5″ and 6″ versions and it’s pretty good. It has to sell for $99 because the Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi have bypassed it on both price and technology and its only option is to go from $250 to $99.

The $139 Kindle WiFi has brought us $99 eReaders – It’s done it about 5 months ahead of the most optimistic predictions.

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