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Borders is stepping up the competition with Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) and Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) by adding the Kobo 2, an eReader with WiFi for $139. The first Kobo has bluetooth sync but relies on a USB connection to transfer new purchases and downloads to the device. B&N and Amazon recently WiFi-only options to their Nook and Kindle lines, offering a less expensive option than their 3G-equipped devices. For Borders, this means a price increase although it’s only a $10 difference for now.
That should make Kobo a more attractive option for people who prefer more portability or don’t want to rely on a PC or Mac to download books. The new version also comes in three new colors and with a faster processor
The co-branded Kobos aren’t the only e-readers being sold by Borders. The chain, an early outlet for the Sony (NYSE: SNE) eReade line, has been expanding aggressively in the past year and is finally rolling out its Area-e hands-on in-store sales areas with seven e-readers. Other devices include the Android-based Cruz Reader and the color CruzTablet from Velocity Micro, the Aluratek Libre eBook Pro.
Borders, which also just revamped its Member Rewards program, is adding incentives for buying some devices — double points towards its Borders Bucks for the purchase of either of the Kobo models.