Bookseller cuts cost of flagship tablet/e-reader device to $199, to better compete with Amazon Kindle Fire.
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Barnes & Noble on Monday cut prices across its line of Nook e-readers, as the bookseller looks to match budget-friendly offerings from rivals like Amazon while hoping to undercut higher-end tablets from Apple and Google partners like Samsung.
Barnes & Noble's flagship 16-GB Nook Tablet got the biggest price cut, reduced 20%. The 7-inch, full-color touch tablet has been marked down from $249 to $199. It's now the same price as Amazon's own flagship e-reader/tablet, the Kindle Fire, which only carries 8 GB of storage.
The 8-GB Nook Tablet is now 10% less expensive, going from $199 to $179, while the price of the Nook Color is down 12%, from $169 to $149.
Barnes & Noble's tablets are now "available for the lowest prices ever," said Jamie Iannone, president of the company's digital products group, in a statement. "Customers can enjoy our best-in-class digital reading and entertainment experience with an expansive selection of digital content and apps at an unbeatable price."
Barnes & Noble says there are more than 2.5 million titles available for Nook, as well as movies and TV shows from Netflix and other content partners.
As more consumers turn to e-books over traditional, printed tomes, the e-reader market will become increasingly crucial to both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Kobo, which powered Borders' e-book hardware and software until the bookseller filed for liquidation, also remains a player in the market.
Apple is also looking to get a piece of the action through its iBooks offerings, which make e-books available to read on the iPad. Tablets powered by vanilla versions of Google's Android OS (Nook runs a customized version) also offer a number of e-readers, including Amazon's Kindle app.
Barnes & Noble isn't going it alone. Under a deal announced in April, the bookseller will spin off its e-book and reader business into a new subsidiary, in which Microsoft has taken a 17.6% stake. In exchange, Microsoft will pay Barnes & Noble $300 million and drop patent claims it had previously filed against the company.
The new, yet-to-be-named subsidiary (for now it's just called NewCo), must pay license fees to Microsoft for technologies covered by patents that were at issue in the lawsuit.
The deal also calls for Barnes & Noble to develop a Nook-branded e-reader app for use on Windows 8 PCs and tablets, including Microsoft's own Surface, which will debut on Oct. 26 along with Windows 8 systems from OEMs.
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