It appears this is going to be the Christmas (or at least the Black Friday) of the $99 e-reader. Apart from the $99 Nook at Best Buy we mentioned the other day (and other discounts on the Pandigital Novel ($139.99) and Sharper Image Literati ($119.99)), now the leaked Wal*Mart Black Friday circular (PDF; link may not be working by the time you read this) indicates that the Sony Digital Reader Pocket Edition (PRS300SC) will be on sale for $99 between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. on that fateful Friday.
Sears lists a Libre eBook Reader PRO for $89.99, Hastings and Macy’s have the Sharper Image Literati for $129.99, but Kohl’s has the best price on it at $99.99. Kmart Toys lists the Vtech V Reader Animated E-Book System at $54.99 (Wal*Mart has it for $54.00; Meijer has it for $49), or $59.99 for the pink version. (Target lists some books for this reader at $9.99 or $16.99 each.) Radio Shack lists the Pandigital Novel for $149.99. CVS has the LookBook for $118.88.
But another great e-book reader, the 8GB iPod Touch, is also going to be on sale at a number of stores. Oddly, these sales generally do not involve reductions in its $229 list price—in fact, most stores list it as the slightly higher $229.99 (though Wal*Mart lists it at $225). Instead, various stores are bundling it with a store gift card.
Wal*Mart’s and ToysRUs’s offers seem to be the best, including a $50 card (and ToysRUs also offers it with the 32GB model). Best Buy’s and Target’s feature $30 gift cards. Hastings has a refurbished 8GB Touch for $159.99, but the ad scan does not indicate whether that’s current or previous generation. (It’s probably previous, which can already be had $10 cheaper through Apple.com.) Weirdly, Radio Shack lists the 8GB iPod Touch for $229.99 with no gift card, which is not only not a discount, it’s 99 cents more (plus tax) than it costs through Apple’s website!
Of course, to get most of these bargains, you will have to line up hours ahead of time (perhaps even the night before), and which e-readers you’re able to get might well depend on which ones the store you’ve lined at for other reasons is carrying. Most people are probably going to line up at the stores that have the highest-dollar items on their lists—such as Target, which is offering a $580 40” HDTV for $300. (To see all Black Friday ad items, check out ad sites such as BFAds.net.)
And prices are always falling. I would not be surprised if we had $99 e-book readers without Black Friday discounts by this time next year.