By Amy Gilroy
Sears, Kmart and Kohl’s will begin carrying eReaders in their brick and mortar stores this May as the eReader category is expected to heat up starting with the “Dads & Grads,” season.
To date, several mass merchants including Sears and Kmart only sell eReaders online although this should change in a big way by Christmas.
Sears said it will begin carrying the Sony Pocket and Touch Readers in 200 stores this May as well as the $149 Aluratek Libre in all stores. Kmart will also start selling the Libre in May and about half of the Kohl’s stores will begin test marketing the Libre starting the first week of May, said Aluratek.
John Wolikow, Aluratek VP sales and marketing said the company’s strategy is to “break the barrier to entry” for eReaders “from a pricing standpoint. There’s a lot of folks, we think, who would really enjoy eBook readers, but they don’t have $250 or $300 to spend, so we’re bringing them a solution that’s affordable.”
All of the Sony and Aluratek eReaders mentioned above do not offer over-the-air wireless downloads. The Sony Touch and Pocket editions carry general street prices of $299 and $169. The Libre gets the price down to $149 as it does not offer an E-Ink screen, however it uses an LCD technology optimized for eReading and low battery drain. The Libre has a 5-inch screen and it comes with 100 free eBooks on a 2GB SD card (included). It has rechargeable batteries that provide 24 hours of continuous reading.
The Sony Touch’s key feature is a 6-inch E-Ink touch screen that allows page turns by a finger swipe. It also allows stylus note-taking on the device or use of a pop-up onscreen keyboard. Users get 512MB of memory plus SD and Memory Stick slots. The Sony Pocket Reader is a more “pocketable” device with a 5-inch E-Ink screen without the touch capability. The device also sheds the expansion slots.
Photo: Aluratek Libre
Sears, Kmart Get eReaders
By Amy Gilroy