Hot on the heels of yesterday's iPad 2 announcement, Barnes & Noble is now offering (via eBay) the Nook Color e-book reader for $199 (plus sales tax in most states). That's after applying coupon code CBARNESDD at checkout.
Update: Sigh. Sold out. I'm having the worst luck this week! My apologies, folks. I had no idea B&N was pulling this so soon.
These are new units, not refurbs, which makes me think a permanent price cut is coming (though maybe not, as Apple didn't lower prices for the iPad 2, much to my surprise).
In any case, the Nook Color was widely heralded as a kick-ass product when it debuted late last year. CNET's David Carnoy (a fellow e-book devotee) gave it four stars and an Editors' Choice award, noting that it "splits the difference between the iPad and the Kindle pretty well, offering the color touch screen--neither 'color' nor 'touch screen' is available on the Kindle--at a price and size that's half that of the iPad."
Now it's less than half the price of the iPad.
I don't own a Nook Color myself, but the first time I laid eyes--and hands--on one, I was impressed. The screen looked more vibrant and colorful than I expected (children's books in particular rivaled what I've seen on the iPad), and the device seemed impossibly thin and light--unlike the chunky, heavy iPad. I wanted one on the spot.
Also, as you may know, the Nook Color does more than just books and full-color magazines. It offers e-mail, Web browsing, games, and, if you believe the rumors, a forthcoming Android 2.2 update that'll turn it into a bona fide tablet.
I don't know how long B&N will offer this coupon, so if you're interested in a Nook Color, here's a rare opportunity to score one for 20 percent off.
Bonus deal: Speaking of tablets, you can now buy a refurbished iPad 1 for just $349. (That's the 16GB Wi-Fi model, natch, but all the models have seen similar price drops.) I thought these would sell out instantly when Apple quietly rolled out this deal yesterday, but they're still in stock. (Mark my words: not for long.) As a reminder, Apple offers a full one-year warranty on refurbished gear.