It seems that just about every where you go this holiday season you’re going to be seeing tablets and e-readers.  With the rate Apple is going, we might see the iPad at corner gas stations soon, but this is leaving the stand-alone e-readers in a bit of a pickle.  Up until now you have had to go to a bunch of individual stores to see all the different e-readers such as the nook and the Kobo, but starting next week you’re going to be able to find a much easier way to comparison shop the models.

Lets break this down for you by the readers.

Amazon

Amazon Kindle

While Amazon doesn’t have any big news about new retail partnerships, it has made an announcement about a fairly significant new feature.  While there was one piece of news in regards to the Kindle apps on other devices, there was also some major news about what is coming to the primary devices:

[...] later this year, we will be introducing lending for Kindle, a new feature that lets you loan your Kindle books to other Kindle device or Kindle app users. Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable – this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending.

While the nook has done this since launch, this is something totally new for the Kindle, and something consumers have been waiting to come about.
Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble nook

There is a mysterious event happening on Tuesday the 26th around the nook, but it looks pretty clear that it will be a new model, with some sources even saying it’ll be a new color model that will still be readable in sunlight.  Supposedly this new model will sell for $249, and it will not totally supplant the original e-ink version as CNET is reporting that the original is still receiving updates.

Whatever this announcement is next week, one thing is for sure and that is the nook will be available in 2,500 Walmart stores across the country this holiday season.  If it is just the original version or this rumored new model remains to be seen.

Borders

Borders Kobo

Borders’ Kobo e-reader is getting updated on Nov. 1 with Wi-Fi connectivity, a faster processor and more colors, all while selling for a new lower price of $140.

The other big news is that the Kobo is also going to be popping up in Walmart stores this holiday season, meaning that the giant retailer’s electronics section is going to be looking just a tad bit different this year with all of the new displays.

How Will This New E-Reader Battlefield Shake Out?

Amazon has the Kindle over at Target, but no word on it coming to Walmart.  The nook and Kobo will now be sitting beside Sony e-readers and the iPad, making for the first time so many of these devices are in one store location.  I would imagine everyone will see an increase in sales, but it still makes you wonder what really should be the winner here.  Personally I’ve avoided the stand-alone e-readers because I simply couldn’t make up my mind which I wanted.  I have the apps for all of them on my iPad, which I admit is not the perfect reading experience, but perhaps I will be able to finally settle on a reader as it will be easier for me to try them all out in person.

With the entrance into Walmart stores, a chain that is almost as common as Starbucks, this is the best shot the companies have had at penetrating the mass market yet.  Not every town has a Barnes & Noble or a Borders which makes it difficult for people to plunk down so much money on a device they aren’t even sure they’ll like.  Putting them in the hands of consumers is the way to win them over, and this is the best solution.

While I doubt the nook or Kobo will surpass the Kindle any time soon, Amazon may want to consider having a little chit chat with Walmart sooner rather than later.

What say you?  Are you getting more interested in buying an e-reader?