Even as bidders look to buy Barnes & Noble, which put itself up for sale in August, the company has announced a new version of the Nook, their portable e-reader. The new device will be smaller, possess a longer battery life, and, most importantly, the price has plummeted from last year’s $249 Nook Color to match the Kindle’s impressively low $139 tag. (The Kindle is also available for $114 if you’re willing to accept ads on your home screen.) And while it will feature a touch screen, the intent is to focus solely on the reading experience and not compete with other functions already provided by the growing tablet industry.
Barnes & Noble also announced that they had managed to capture a full quarter of the e-book market, which, if true, will be key for the company’s continued success. The long, slow, death-of-a-thousand-papercuts demise of competitor Borders, along with the news the e-book sales have surpassed those of printed books on Amazon.com, probably has the retailer more invested than ever in the digital side of things. The new Nook is expected to ship by June 10.