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Borders Cuts e-Reader Prices, Plans More SKUs

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

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.