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.

Black Friday eReader Deals

Here are the big Black Friday eReader deals and coupons including a kindle black friday deal.

Kindle Black Friday Deals 2010 – $89 Kindle 2

Update: The Kindle Black Friday deal sold out instantly.

The $139 Kindle WiFi is probably your best bet now.

Amazon has the Kindle 2 for $89. There are a limited number of Kindles and the deal starts 11/26 at 9 am PST (12 EST).

It’s an amazing deal as the Kindle 2 comes with free 3G that lets you browse the Kindle Store and the Internet. It includes text to speech, basic PDF support, and a lot of solid features. Do note that this doesn’t have the new eInk Pearl screen that Kindle 3 does.

If you’re more interested in the latest generation Kindles there are no kindle black friday deals for them but they’re still good value for money -

  1. Kindle WiFi for $139 is really good value for money.
  2. Kindle 3 for $189 is also very good value for money. If you don’t need the free 3G the Kindle WiFi is a better deal.

It is very unlikely there will be any Black Friday deals on Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi.

Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi are the best eReaders in my opinion if your budget is under $200.

Barnes & Noble Nook Black Friday Deals

Best Buy has a good black friday deal on the Nook 1 – It’s priced at $100.

  • Nook 1 uses the older generation eInk screen and not the new eInk Pearl.
  • It’s unlikely there will be a Nook Color deal for Black Friday.
  • Best Buy is rumored to have only 10 Nooks per store so make sure you get there early.

The Kindle 2 at $89 is better than the Nook 1 at $100 unless you need support for library books and ePub.

Sony Reader Black Friday Deals 

Dell has the Sony 350 for just $119. This is a great price for a great eReader.

B&H Photo has two deals through end of Black Friday -

  1. Sony Reader PRS-650 for $200.
  2. Sony Reader PRS-350 for $150. 

There’s free shipping and the deals last till the day after Black Friday (i.e. till November 27th).

Sony Store has the same prices on the Sony 350 and Sony 650. Note that these are the latest generation Sony Readers and have the new eInk Pearl screen (which Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi also have) and touch capability (which Kindles don’t).

SonyStyle.com has an offer where you can trade in your old eReader for up to $75 of credit towards a new Sony Reader. For a fully working Kindle 1 it offers $75 trade-in value which is great.

WalMart has the Sony PRS-300 (previous generation, not the latest generation) for $99 from 4 to 11 am on Black Friday.

(Sony Deals found courtesy MobileRead as was the Fictionwise deal listed later in the post).

Since there are lots of stores selling the Sony Reader, there are a lot of ‘black friday eReader deals’ on Sony Readers - will add these as and when they’re found.

Here are what the deals looked like last year -

  1. Sony PRS-300 plus a $30 gift card for $199 at BestBuy.com. That’s not much as the PRS 300 is $199 to begin with.
  2. BJ’s has a free case with the Sony PRS 300 for Black Friday.
  3. BuyDig is selling it for $187.
  4. Toys R Us has a free $15 Sony Connect card with a $199 Pocket Edition (only for Black Friday sale – not now).

There were also some deals from Staples etc. but nothing to write home about. Throwing in a free case or taking $30 off is the common Sony Reader Black Friday deal.

Black Friday eReader Deals

None Yet. Will be updated as deals are found. Quite frankly, if you’re picking an eReader, it’s best to stick with the top two (Kindle, Nook) or Sony. This holiday season (just like last season) there aren’t any other eReaders that are in the same league.

One interesting Black Friday eBook deal is 50% off at FictionWise. Use coupon code: blackfriday2010.

Thoughts on Black Friday eReader Deals

The Kindle ($89 offer) and the Nook only retail from their respective companies and a few limited stores like Best Buy so the only possible Black Friday Deal (and there’s very little chance) is a kindle coupon or deal straight from Amazon or B&N or something from Best Buy.

This year Amazon is going with the $89 Kindle 2 which is a great deal and BestBuy is going with the $100 Nook 1 which is a good deal.

As far as Kindle 3 and Nook Color it’s hard to see any Black Friday eReader deals for either – Frankly, B&N and Amazon have priced Nook Color and Kindle 3 so low that it’s hard to see prices go any lower this year.

Don’t hold out for a Black Friday deal if you want a Kindle 3, Kindle WiFi, or Nook Color. There probably won’t be any deals.

Plus, even if there is a deal, you have a return period -

  • 14 days for nook returns. 
  • Until end of January 2011 for Kindle. Amazon has a special return policy during the holiday period which means returns until the end of Jan 2011 should work.

Best of luck finding some great Black Friday eReader deals.

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