Home Would You Pay More Than $99 For an eReader?

Would You Pay More Than $99 For an eReader?

EBooks and eReaders are a hot topic right now, especially with the new line-up of Kindle competitors scheduled to arrive before the holiday season. However, according to a new report by Forrester Research’s Sarah Rotman Epps, most people aren’t willing to pay a lot for these devices. Forrester asked consumers at what price they would consider an eReader expensive but still buy it. The answer was generally somewhere between $50 and $99.

This holiday season, the cheapest eReader on the market will be the Sony Reader Pocket Edition, which sells for $199, though this is a no-frills product without a wireless connection and a relatively small screen. All the other eReaders will be substantially more expensive, with the cheapest Kindle clocking in at $299. The COOL-ER reader is also relatively affordable at $249. According to Rotman Epps, however, only about 14% of the 181 million US consumers who are online would be willing to buy an eReader at $199 or higher.

$99 Is the New $199

In an earlier report, Rotman Epps argued that breaking the $199-barrier would be a major breakthrough for the eReader market and would allow these devices to become mainstream. Now it looks like $99 might actually be the point where eReader would become an impulse buy for the majority of consumers.

The good news for eReader manufacturers, however, is that those who intend to buy an eReader within the next six months are willing to pay up to $159 and those who actually already own one are even willing to pay over $250. A bargain price for eReaders for both of these groups would around $100, though.

Price Inevitably Comes Down

When it comes to consumer electronics, prices always come down in the long run, and we will surely see a similar trend for eReaders. For now, manufacturing costs for eReaders are still relatively high, but publishers could subsidize eReaders through a subscription model, for example.

It is clear, though, as Rotman Epps points out, that most consumers don’t put a lot of value on these devices yet and that prices will have to come down substantially. Even then, Rotman Epps argues, eReaders will never be as popular as MP3 players because the majority of consumers “don’t care enough about reading or technology to invest in this type of single-purpose device at anything close to realistic prices.”

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