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Borders Cuts e-Reader Prices, Plans More SKUs

9/01/2010 10:10:44 AM Eastern
Ann Arbor, Mich. - Borders Group is getting more aggressive in e-reader price and selection, lowering the price of its Kobo device to $129 from $149 and its Libre Pro to $99.99 from $119 only months after launching them.

The Libre Pro's price reduction "will make it among the most aggressively priced devices in the industry," the company said.

Borders also announced plans to further expand its e-reader selection "in the coming weeks." The company already offers six devices: the Kobo, Aluratek Libre eBook Reader Pro, Velocity Micro Cruz Reader and Velocity Micro Cruz Tablet as well as two Sony devices. "Sales of the Kobo as well as pre-orders for the Aluratek and Velocity Micro devices have exceeded expectations," the company noted.

The $199 Cruz Reader will be available in the fall along with the $299 Cruz Tablet, both featuring color touchscreens, web browsing and multimedia playback. The latter is also Android-based. They're available Sept. 30 and Oct. 15, respectively.

Borders also said that in early October, it would complete the rollout of Area-e digital shops in brick-and-mortar stores, enabling consumers to try out and buy an expanded selection of e-readers. The sections are staffed by what the company called "knowledgeable associates" who demo products and answer customers' questions.

For its fiscal second quarter ending July 31, the company reported that it increased its capital expenditures Second-quarter capital expenditures rose to $7.7 million from a year-ago $1.2 million because of spending on opening the Area-e shops and opening the Borders eBook store.

Company sales for the quarter were down 11.5 percent to $526.1 million from the year-ago period, and operating losses grew to $51.6 million from the year-ago $45.1 million.
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