In a move that's sure to impact the e-reader pricing wars, Barnes & Noble has fired the first salvo with a $50 gift card offering when you purchase its $259 Nook eBook Reader.
While this technically doesn't qualify as a price cut, it definitely puts pressure on Amazon to either lower the price of the $259 Kindle or throw in a gift card or freebie of its own, such as a case (neither the Kindle or Nook comes with a protective carrying case). Needless to say, Barnes & Noble is trying to gain an advantage as we head into the important Father's Day and school graduation buying season.
"The company will provide a free $50 Barnes & Noble gift card with any Nook eBook Reader purchase through Barnes & Noble and Best Buy," the press release notes. "Recipients can instantly stock up on their great summer reads, choosing from the expansive Barnes & Noble eBookstore, or show their style with a Nook accessory." The Web site claims the gift card is a "limited-time offer").
We'll see how Amazon responds, as rumors have surfaced that a thinner, faster Kindle may arrive in August and that Barnes & Noble may be prepping a cheaper Wi-Fi-only Nook. The next obvious stop for the Kindle and Nook is $199, but so far both companies have held their prices at $259, even as Apple's iPad, which doubles as an e-reader, continues its torrid sales pace.