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Barnes & Noble reduces Nook Simple Touch e-reader to $80

Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch eReaderBarnes & Noble has knocked $20 off the price of its entry-level Simple Touch e-reader in the hope of attracting some extra business over the holiday shopping season. Consumers can now pick it up for $80.

Launched in May 2011, the Simple Touch features a 6-inch E Ink Pearl touchscreen display and 2GB of onboard storage good enough for around a thousand books – though if you happen to be an incredibly voracious reader and want to load it up with even more you can make use of its microSD slot which is able to take cards of up to 32GB.

Battery life on the Simple Touch is said to be in the region of two months (based on an average daily reading time of about 30 minutes), double that of its main rival, Amazon’s entry-level Kindle e-reader. That device, which is controlled using physical buttons rather than via a touchscreen, currently sells for $69, though for that price you’ll have to put up with screensaver ads – something that Barnes & Noble was keen to point out in its statement announcing the Simple Touch’s new price, calling such ads “distracting.” Opt for Amazon’s ad-free Kindle and you’ll be asked to part with $89.

Barnes & Noble’s decision to cut the price of the Simple Touch could be seen as an acknowledgment that tablet sales are eating into the e-reader market, especially with the launch of cheaper devices such as Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD offerings.

Research firm IDC said recently that while tablet sales are expected to rise in 2012, it projects that e-reader sales will drop from 27.8 million in 2011 to 19.9 million this year.

IDC noted that while some consumers prefer a dedicated e-reader, “most buyers are gravitating toward multi-use tablet products and finding a ‘good enough’ reading experience on these traditional back-lit tablets.”

However, if tablets aren’t your thing and you happen to be in the market for a dedicated reading device, or if you’re thinking of buying one as a gift in the coming weeks, check out Simon Hill’s recent overview of some of the best e-readers on the market today, including Barnes & Noble’s Simple Touch device.