Big news from B&N today! They’re looking to push down the price of the NOOK and drive more subscription services, so they’ve combined the two! You can get a free NOOK Simple Touch or a $99 NOOKcolor with a subscription to the New York Times through B&N ($19.99/month). Alternately, if you are more of the entertainment news type, there’s always a $199 NOOK Tablet with a subscription to People!
This is potentially huge for the ebook industry. It turns the reader hardware into a commodity, not the main show. It also pushes prices down while also lining up ongoing cash flow for B&N and the periodical providers (who I assume are splitting the subsidy costs). Finally, this is a much more dramatic price cut and incentive than Kindles with Special Offers or ad-based Kobo devices. If you read the NY Times, you can effectively get a free NOOK and still get free online access to the NYT plus an eReader version. That’s a great deal and one that is going to have Amazon scrambling to respond.
Of course, some of this is probably due to B&N’s NOOK Simple Touch sales miss…but this should move a fair number of them! It will be interesting to see where the market goes from here, but “free eReader with one-year subscription” veers awfully close to “free phone with two-year contract”. How long until a 2-year NYT subscription yields you a free tablet?
You can check out all the details and pick up your free NOOK here. The offer runs officially through March 9, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it continues for longer if it is a success!