It's been a busy week on the e-reader front. Borders-backed Kobo and Barnes & Noble's (NYSE: BKS) Nook introduced new devices at compelling price points. (Nasdaq: AMZN) isn't breaking out new hardware, but it is using an old trick to arrive at a new price point.

Kindle 3G -- the popular e-reader that is able to connect to Amazon's marketplace without the need for Wi-Fi access -- is now available at a $164 price point for readers willing to put up with sponsored screensavers and special offers. It's the same $25 price break that it made available on its cheaper Wi-Fi model last month.

Dealing with digital marketing may seem abhorrent to bibliophiles who prefer cover-to-cover immersion, but did I mention that these are the kind of deals that Amazon shoppers will actually be looking forward to?

In a neat move, Amazon is spelling out some of the promos that it will make available through this ad-backed Kindle in the coming weeks.

  • $10 for a $20 gift card.
  • A unique 20% discount that will save buyers up to $500 on select HDTVs.
  • Kindle books for a buck, including some recent best-sellers.
  • A $10 gift card for folks spending $10 in Kindle books. 

Not too shabby, right? Folks are actually going to want to fire up their Kindles daily to see what's being offered, just the way deal seekers are growing addicted to Groupon and Amazon-backed LivingSocial.

This is also taking a page out of the Barnes & Noble playbook, since the Nook offers special deals when folks take their e-readers into one of the physical superstores.

Amazon doesn't need the Kindle itself to be successful for the leading online retailer to be a major player in digital reads. The Kindle app already plays nice with Macs, PCs, and most smartphone platforms including Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM) BlackBerry. Customers can buy a book on any device, and then continue to read it across various gadgets running the app. However, the success of the Kindle hardware itself is Amazon's best defense against the competition.

If it can now use it as a tool to hop on the Groupon bandwagon -- encouraging more active use along the way -- the Kindle will be hard for anyone else to beat.

Will we ever see publishers offering fully subsidized Kindles? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.