Borders begins taking orders for e-book reader

May 7, 2010 By MAE ANDERSON , AP Retail Writer

(AP) -- Borders Group Inc. has begun taking orders for the Kobo electronic book reader and pushing it at a lower price than competing devices.

Borders also said Friday that its e-bookstore and software will be available beginning in June.

The Kobo e-reader device will retail for $149.99 and come preloaded with 100 "classic" books, the said. Friday. Borders' e-bookstore and e-reader software will run on Kobo technology. It will run on the Kobo device as well as most smartphones, personal computers and Inc.'s iPad.

Traditional bookstores have struggled with increased online competition and discounters and have started focusing on the small but quickly growing e-book category.

Barnes & Noble's $259 e-reader, the Nook, launched last year.

Borders said in December it was partnering with Canada's Kobo Inc. to launch the e-book store that would work across multiple devices.

The field has so far been dominated by Amazon.com's Kindle e-reader, which also sells for $259, with new competition in the Nook and iPad.

"Even though Borders is playing catch-up with its peers, I like that they're pursuing the value angle with the low price point," said Michael Norris, senior trade analyst at Simba Information. He said that since people may feel they don't read enough books to commit to a dedicated device, "the lower price point might bring some on-the-fence e-book readers around and also make it an easier gift."

Borders said it will start selling the Kobo and other e-reading devices, in special areas of its store beginning in August.

Pre-ordered Kobos are scheduled to arrive beginning June 17.

Borders shares rose 13 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $2.20 during midday trading. The stock has traded between 85 cents and $4.48 during the past 52 weeks.

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