By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 13, 2012 12:44 PM EDT
Amid intensifying competition from rival tablets and e-readers, American bookstore chain Barnes & Noble announced its "lowest price ever" for the Nook in a statement on Sunday, Aug. 12. The company is now offering price cuts for three models of its Nook Tablet and Nook Color devices, just in time for the peak of back-to-school shopping season.
The 8GB Nook Tablet will now cost $179, down from $199, the 16GB model costs $199, down from its original $249 price tag, while the least expensive Nook Color drops from $169 to $149. All three devices sport 7-inch displays and offer access to an extensive library of e-books, movies, TV shows, and music.
"NOOK Tablet offers access to the world's largest digital library of more than 2.5 million titles, popular movies, music and more, plus thousands of high-quality NOOK AppsTM, fast Web browsing, e-mail and expandable memory," touts the company's press release.
The new prices went into effect on Sunday, Aug. 12, and are available at all of Barnes & Noble's nearly 700 stores nationwide, online on the company's Web site, as well as other leading retailers offering Nook products. According to Barnes & Noble, the Nook has amassed 27 percent of the American market for e-books.
Amazon, however, remains the market leader with roughly 60 percent of e-book and e-reader sales. Nook devices enjoyed great popularity, but Barnes & Noble still had to cut prices several times in order to compete with Amazon. The latest price cuts come amid growing speculation that Amazon is preparing to launch a new generation of its popular Kindle Fire tablet. According to a number of reports, the Kindle Fire successor is expected to be thinner, lighter, and sport a sharper display than the original device. The new iteration is expected to ship before September.
Moreover, the rumor mill is also buzzing around Apple's purported iPad Mini, rumored to launch alongside the next-generation iPhone in September. Analysts have estimated that Apple still has 25 percent of the market to penetrate, and the Mini version of its market-leading tablet could capitalize on that portion.
The new price cuts may also be a response to the great success of Google's Nexus 7 Tablet, which received glowing reviews and incredibly high demand.
Meanwhile, Nook sales dropped during the fourth quarter due to a lower selling volume and other issues. Barnes & Noble saw overall losses of $57.7 million, less than those of a year ago, but more than analysts had expected.
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