Imagine getting into an e-book reader war with Amazon. The competition is cringing.

Imagine getting into an e-book reader war with Amazon. The competition is cringing.

Amazon came out with one of the first e-readers, the Kindle, at $379. They’ve continuously improved it, and taking cue from Intel have cut the price of every new model.

Recently, they stunned the market with their latest, a $79 basic Kindle and a $99 model that adds a touch screen. The $79 model is the same as Kindle’s $135 reader except the screen has been improved.

Just to keep things even, the company revealed Kindle Fire, a $199 color, multi-touch tablet run on the Android system. The price is not Apple iPad2’s $499. Fire is $199. It will be released on Nov. 15.

Prices also are falling on other Kindles. The 3G is $139. Ten dollars more adds a touch screen.

Barnes and Noble is fighting back with an improved Nook at $139 and a “reader-tablet” Nook Color at $249.

The $79 Kindle, as you would expect, is a stripped model with Wi-Fi but no 3G wireless compatibility. Gone is the mechanical keyboard, replaced by a five-way controller.

The most important part is the screen. The Kindle has the same e-ink type and excellent readability indoors or in sunlight. If you just want to read, it should satisfy you.

You cannot hear audio books with the cheapest Kindle, its only major downer. Use your laptop for that.

The new Kindle announcement came days after a major expansion of e-books. Libraries across the country now are loaning books for Kindle. This was a sticking point, as they only were supporting e-pub format (Nook).

The deal with publishers is weird. They demand that the book cannot be read by more than one person at a time, creating huge waiting lines. They think this protects sales of their own e-books. Crippling technology never works.

Other makers are jumping into the sub-$100 e-book market, including Skytex, Libre, Ematic and PanDigital (remanufactured).

Contact Jim Hillibish at jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com.