At the same time this eBook reader war has been capturing media attention, a price war has been brewing over paper books. Walmart has cut best-selling hardcover prices to $10 from their normal $24 price tags. Amazon (the same place that sells $9.99 eBooks and the $259 Kindle) has matched Walmart’s prices. Target, not to be outdone, has started pitching selected $9 hardcovers. Add to this the fact that most consumers cherish the flexibility of paper books—the ability to write in them, paste sticky notes in them, lend them to friends, and resell them when they are done with them—and the traditional book market is looking like it could make a comeback with consumers as well.
These two trends are combining into big concerns for both eBook reader makers and book sellers. Cash-strapped consumers may very well bypass eBook readers when paper books sell for the same prices as eBooks. Meanwhile, book publishers and sellers are worried that these price wars will kill off their businesses, ensuring no one makes any money in the book business. Oddly, eBook reader innovations have the potential to kill both the book and eBook reader businesses. full story