Barnes & Noble has dropped the price of its backlit Nook e-reader just in time to catch up on some summer reading around the campfire.
The last time Barnes & Noble cut the price of the GlowLight Nook was to meet the price of Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite, a similar e-reader that debuted for $119 last September. This time around, however, Barnes & Noble's move doesn't appear to be in direct response to a single competitor—though its new sub-$100 price makes the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight the cheapest backlit e-reader around.
The latest price cut could simply be the fact that 16 months after its first debut, the GlowLight Nook is now cheaper to make thanks to a tuned up supply chain.
Summertime price cuts also aren't unusual for the bookseller. In June, Barnes & Noble announced it would extends its Father's Day price cuts indefinitely for the Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets. Last August, it also cut the prices of its Nook tablets.
The Nook simmers down
But Barnes & Noble's GlowLight price cut also comes at a time when the e-reader market is hurting. Taiwan-based E Ink Holdings—the display supplier for major e-reader brands, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble—reported a 46 percent dip in revenue for its second financial quarter of 2013 compared to the year previous. Pouring on the bad news, E Ink expects global e-reader shipments to be flat compared to 2012, at around 10-15 million units, according to Taiwanese daily Taipei Times.
In March, market research firm IDC said it expected e-reader shipments to grow modestly in 2013 and 2014 after peaking at 26.4 million shipments in 2011 ( IDC and TechHive are both owned by International Data Group).
Barnes & Noble also reported bad news for the Nook during its financial 2013 year-end announcement. The bookseller announced a 34 percent dip in revenue year-over-year for its Nook division during the fourth quarter and reported a nearly 17 percent slide for the year. Barnes & Noble blamed the poor performance on declining Nook device sales.
To help tighten things up for the Nook division, Barnes & Noble plans on farming out its tablet manufacturing to third parties, rather than creating Nook slates in-house. (E-readers will continue to be built by Barnes & Noble.) The company has yet to announce any tablet manufacturing partners.
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