Barnes & Noble Inc cut prices on three models of its Nook e-reader and tablet devices on Sunday, ahead of the peak of the back to school season and amid speculation that rival Amazon.com Inc is preparing to launch a new version of its Kindle Fire tablet.
Barnes & Noble, which has said the Nook has allowed it to win 27 percent of the U.S. e-books market, said it had slashed the retail price of its Nook tablet with 16 GB of memory to $199 from $249. Amazon is the market leader with about 60 percent of e-book and e-reader sales.
The largest U.S. bookstore chain also shaved $20 off its 8 GB version of the tablet to $179. Barnes & Noble lowered the price of its Nook Color by $20, bringing it to $149, the latest reduction for that model.
The new prices went into effect on Sunday.
Despite the popularity of the Nook devices, Barnes & Noble has had to reduce the price of various versions on a number of occasions to compete with Amazon, which is believed to be preparing to launch a new version of its Kindle Fire tablet. The earlier price reductions cut into Barnes & Noble's earnings.
The company, which has bet its future on staking a claim in the e-books industry, reported lower-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter and said Nook revenue fell 10.5 percent.
Signs at one Manhattan Barnes and Noble store already reflected the new prices on Sunday.