Barnes And Noble Cuts Nook Tablet Prices As New Kindle Rumors Surface

Well, Barnes and Noble seems to be in a giving mood today. The company revealed earlier this morning that eager customers can nab themselves a 16GB Nook Tablet for $199 — $50 off its original price. Meanwhile, the 8GB Nook Tablet now goes for $179 (down from $199), and aging Nook Color can how be had for the relatively low price of $149.

As for why Barnes and Noble has suddenly decided to slash prices — well, there are a few reasons why the move makes plenty of sense.

We’re already knee-deep in August for one, which means the back-to-school buying frenzy is starting to heat up considerably. Students (with parents in tow, naturally) will be trawling their local big box stores and online retailers for gadgets to accompany them to school, and a little price break makes the Nook lineup just a bit more palatable.

Perhaps more important here is the issue of competition. B&N’s line of e-readers are right up there with Kindle series, but its Nook Tablets have plenty of strong rivals to contend with and a lower price tag couldn’t hurt. After a bit of a rough start, Google’s impressive little Nexus 7 is endearing itself to those watching the low-cost tablet space, and it shouldn’t be long before Amazon releases something new to stymie its rival. In fact, recent rumblings indicate that Amazon may make its move sooner rather than later.

Barnes and Noble isn’t the only e-reader peddler that has recently futzed with product pricing — Amazon slashed the price of its aging (and hefty) Kindle DX earlier this week, and astute observers were quick to point out that models like the Kindle Touch 3G were curiously unavailable from the online retailer.

Gizmodo took the news as potential proof that Amazon was trying to burn through existing inventory ahead of a long-rumored Kindle announcement they believe will take place next week. While multiple sources have pointed to a new Kindle unveiling in the third quarter, I’m not quite convinced the timing is right just yet — each previous crop of Kindles were on the market for over a year before its successors were revealed. Amazon’s most recent Kindle announcement was also preceded by an invitation that went out to the press a week prior to the event, and so far as I know nothing like that has hit anyone’s inbox yet.

That’s not to say Amazon won’t make a move next week, but I’m not quite onboard with the notion yet. Then again, I wouldn’t mind being wrong this time — my 2nd generation Kindle is getting a bit long in the tooth.