NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Barnes & Noble (BKS - Get Report) wants you to know that they've cut the price of their Nook tablets just in time for Mother's Day. They want you to believe this represents some benevolent move on their part to make Moms super happy on their special day. B&N would rather you not assume that their Android tablet could really use a big sales boost right about now.
Competition is fierce. According to recent sales figures, Barnes & Noble doesn't even make it onto the top five tablet manufacturer list. Apple (AAPL - Get Report) and Samsung are leading the field. Asus and arch rival Amazon.com (AMZN - Get Report) are third and fourth respectively. And, for the first time, Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) with their new line of Surface tablets has made its way onto the list.
B&N had to do something to boost sales and entice consumers, so they've decided on the Nook discount.
By Monday afternoon, Barnes & Noble was falling 2.1% to $18.16, cutting its 12-month gain to 1.5%. The S&P 500 has jumped 18% during that same period.The New York-based bookseller's first step was to announce that all of their Nook HD tablets will now be able to access all the apps, movies and songs available in the Google (GOOG - Get Report) Play store. That's in addition to what's available in their own Nook store. It's a giant step to help B&N compete with other Android tablets. And, it should go a long way to help differentiate it's products from Amazon's Kindle line. Their latest offer allows Nooks to go head-to-head with popular, lower-priced priced tablets on the market today. Think in terms of sub-$200 models such as Asus' Nexus 7 and their brand new, sub-$150 MeMO Pad model For the next week, the Nook HD will be selling for $149 (down from $199) and their Nook HD+ will be $179 (usually $269). These new prices are supposed to vanish into thin air right after Mother's Day. I'm unwilling believe that will happen. I expect the current discount to be ﾓsuch a huge successﾔ that it will be extended for the graduation gifting season at least through Father's Day. And could even be made permanent. Barnes & Noble needs to do something to make their electronic devices competitive in the long run. And they need to do it quickly. They can't afford to wait.