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Sony Pocket Reader  (Source: Reuters)
$199 price point is expected to drive customers to adopt eReaders

The eReader market is getting hot. There were readers on the market before the Amazon Kindle burst onto the scene, but the Kindle is the product that really brought real attention to the eReader market. Sony is now trying to combat the Kindle with a few new products.

Sony has announced that it will be offering two new readers this month. The Reader Pocket Edition has a small 5-inch display, but sells at what is called a breakthrough price of $199. Avid readers looking for a device with a larger screen and touch capability will be able to get their hands on a larger touch-capable device from Sony for $299.

The $299 price point is a hard place to sell readers for Sony since the Amazon Kindle is selling at $299 now after getting a $60 price cut in July. The Kindle also has a more robust feature set, namely the device has a built-in wireless connection that operates on 3G mobile network for anywhere connectivity. Neither of the new Sony readers offers wireless connectivity.

Sony has also announced that it will reduce the price of its best seller book titles from $11.99 to $9.99 to match Amazon's pricing for best sellers. Reuters reports that analysts say the new $199 price point may lure avid readers not jumping on the Kindle to adopt the Sony platform.

Steve Haber, Sony Digital Reading division president told Reuters, "Achieving the $199 price point, we believe, expands the market dramatically. You can throw it in your bag and always have it with you, and that also allowed us to achieve a more affordable price point."

Haber says that he expects the total market for eReaders to cross the 2 million barrier this year and that one of the drivers for that growth will be the Sony $199 reader. Reuters reports that a Forrester survey found that 13% of online consumers felt that $199 was an affordable splurge and 26% said that price was within reach.

The more expensive $299 reader from Sony is called the Reader Touch Edition, features a built-in dictionary that can pop up word definitions by taping the word, and allows users to take notes with a virtual keyboard or stylus. The $299 price will be a hard sell though considering the lack of wireless connectivity that Amazon offers at the same price.





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