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Barnes & Noble offers $50 gift card with Nook

The e-book pricing wars are heating up with Barnes & Noble throwing in a $50 gift card with its Nook eBook Reader.

The Nook currently costs $259. Barnes & Noble

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.

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Barnes & Noble Nook (3G/Wi-Fi)
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