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Amazon reader deviceWill a $50 version of the rumored Amazon Kindle E Ink reader, subsidized by e-book sales, threaten the $350 Sony Reader? MobileRead is carrying a juicy rumor from a somewhat skeptical Nick Hampshire of Afaics? Nick says a “viable analysis indicates that a subsidised retail price of about US$50 is possible.”

I dunno, Nick. That would be some subsidy. And even in the States, where laws are looser than in Europe, I wonder if Sony could fire back with a claim of unfair competition. And what happens on the e-book format and price fronts? Would this mean higher prices paid by people herded into Mobipocket format?

Here’s the exact quote attributed to Nick:

This may only be a rumour but it certainly is a viable option, an analysis of the manufacturing cost of the device indicates that a subsidised retail price of about US$50 is possible. And, from market research we know that this would probably be low enough to create a sufficient demand for e-books and e-reader devices to ensure that the company not only recouped its subsidy cost but created a growing market. However, this would mean subsidising the sale of several hundred thousand Kindle readers.

 
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