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Barnes & Noble


is taking a step back with its newest Nook device, stripping out the bells and whistles with what it dubs the "simplest touch reader." But is launching a pure e-reader the smartest move for the book seller?

Nook Simple Touch may come as a surprise to Wall Street, which expected Barnes & Noble to narrow the gap between the Nook and



iPad. Instead, the company has chosen to intensify the competition with




Nook Simple Touch features a black-and-white, e-ink touch screen, with no color capabilities or applications. Barnes & Noble touts the device's long battery life, which can last up to two months if used for just a half-hour a day with the Wi-fi turned off.

>Click here to take our Barnes & Noble poll.

Nook Simple Touch, priced at $139, will go head-to-head with Amazon's basic Kindle, which retails as low as $114 with ads.

Barnes & Noble's New Nook: No Color, No Apps

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The e-reader is currently available for pre-orders and will go on sale in time for Father's Day.

For all intents and purposes, the Nook has been Barnes & Noble's saving grace, becoming the best selling item of all-time at the retailer during the holiday season.

>Barnes & Noble Bid: Can Beggars Be Choosers?

It is also believed to be one of the driving forces behind

Liberty Media's

$1 billion buyout offer made last week.

"Barnes & Noble is the established leader in bookselling and is at the forefront of the transition to digital, with a management team that has demonstrated expertise in operations and positioned the company for growth in a dynamic marketplace," Liberty said in a statement.

But is this the type of digital advancement Liberty was expecting next out of Barnes & Noble?

Chief Executive William Lynch said during the Nook unveiling on Thursday that management was inspired to create Nook Simple Touch from a letter it received from a customer, looking for a device to purchase for a parent who was having difficulty reading small print. The goal of the device, Lynch said, is to minimize the technology aspects so users can be immersed in reading.

While Barnes & Noble says Nook Simple Touch is the "e-reader for everyone" it is clearly targeting the grandma demographic, a market few gadgets address.

On the one hand, this could be an untapped market that is craving to be noticed, or it could end up being a dead-end for Barnes & Noble.

>What Would Liberty Do With Barnes & Noble?

Following the launch of Apple's iPad last year, it has been widely debated as to how much legs dedicated e-readers still maintain.

What do you think? Is there a market for Barnes & Noble's Nook Simple Touch or is this a step backward for the company? Take our poll and see what other readers are saying.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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Jeanine Poggi


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