Nook's Kindle Counterpunch: The Hands-On ApproachS

The new $140 Wi-Fi Kindle might have been the latest salvo in the ebook reader wars, but it's definitely not the last. The ball's in Barnes and Noble's court, and they're focused on the home field advantage of 720 storefronts.

B&N's going to be clearing out enough space for 1,000-square foot Nook boutiques in each of its brick-and-mortars, the New York Times reports, that will allow customers to try the Nook out for themselves and and have their questions answered by employees. While Kindle's available in Target, the vast majority are bought online, sight unseen.

The emphasis on advertising may be an indication that the ebook reader price wars may have temporarily bottomed out. That's fine by Sony, who also responded to the new Kindle by not budging at all on price, according to Forbes:

"Pricing is one consideration in the dedicated reading device marketplace, but Sony won't sacrifice the quality and design we're bringing book lovers to lay claim to the cheapest eReader," said Phil Lubell, Sony Electronics' vice president of digital reading.

A stance that would almost be admirable, if Sony's ebook readers were any good.

In any case, it's clear that the new Kindle's got people spooked. "Advertise more" and "do nothing" aren't strategies that give the consumer a better product or let them save more money. And however much the personal touch will help for now, in the long run everyone who's not Amazon still has a lot of catching up to do. [NY Times, Forbes]