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B&N cuts price of Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight by $20

The e-book reader's second price cut in the past year may be a precursor to a product refresh this fall.

The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight.
The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight. Sarah Tew/CNET

Shoppers in the market for an e-book reader can now pick up the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight for $99 after Barnes & Noble shaved another $20 off its price Sunday.

It's the device's second price cut since last September, when B&N reduced the price from $139 to $119. The latest drop prices the Nook Simple Touch below the Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon's rival e-ink e-reader that features an integrated light.

The reduction comes as demand for e-book readers appears to be waning. E Ink Holdings, which makes e-book reader screens for Amazon and B&N, reported a 46 percent decline in quarterly sales on Friday, its largest drop in four years. Furthermore, the company said it expects sales to continue to be flat in 2013.

While some observers speculate the move is a precursor to a Nook refresh this fall, it could also signal a fate similar to that of the Nook tablet -- Barnes & Noble said in June that it cease its production of that gadget, shifting the burden to third parties. The company partly blamed its fourth-quarter 34 percent revenue drop on poor sales of the devices.

B&N had expected its Nook business to generate greater demand in the face of lower sales from its retail chains, but rising product development and marketing costs have reportedly cut into Nook's contributions.

Perhaps complicating B&N's presence in the market, Microsoft has reportedly offered to pay as much as $1 billion to buy out the digital assets of Nook Media, the e-book joint venture between the software giant and bookseller Barnes & Noble. The two companies announced a partnership in April 2012 that saw the software giant invest $300 million in the Nook unit that combined the company's digital and college text businesses.

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