Nook Simple Touch and Color E-Reader Prices Slashed for Mother's Day

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Barnes & Noble is dropping its Nook e-reader prices for a limited period leading up to Mother's Day, May 13 for its Nook Simple Touch and Nook Color. The price drops come on the heels of news that B&N will take a $300 million investment from Microsoft to do battle against Amazon and Apple and craft a Nook app for Windows 8.

From May 1 to May 12, Barnes & Noble says it'll knock $20 off its Nook Simple Touch as well as the higher-priced Nook Color. The black and white Simple Touch typically goes for $99 ($79 during the sale, or 20% off), while the Color model retails for $169 ($149 during the sale, or 12% off). As a bonus, the company says it'll throw in a Nook gift bag "made of matte art board laminated for extra strength" and "grosgrain handles ... anchored by sturdy powder-coated metal grommets." The bags usually go for $3.95 each.

In Barnes & Noble's Nook lineup, which consists of four devices, the Nook Simple Touch with 6-inch screen is at the bottom of the pile -- it's the entry-level model without a backlight. The model people seem most interested in (it's backordered on Barnes & Noble's website until May 7) is the Simple Touch with GlowLight is not discounted and will run you $139. Also not discounted is the $250 Android-based Nook Tablet tablet that is comparable to the Kindle Fire.

Picking the Right Nook for Mom

If you want to give Mom the gift of color, for books that support it, the Nook Color with 7-inch screen gets the job done, but it's also a notable step back from Barnes & Noble's flagship Nook Tablet ($199, not discounted). The Nook Tablet is faster, has a few hours extra battery life, weighs a tick less and includes a microphone (for a "Read and Record" book feature). But here again, you're looking at a significant price differential ($50), making it a question of whether Mom really needs those extras.

What about Amazon's Kindle e-reader lineup, the obvious alternative in terms of popularity? Amazon hasn't said yet whether it'll discount its devices for Mother's Day, so at the moment you're looking at $79 for Amazon's baseline black and white Kindle, $99 for the Kindle Touch, and $199 for the Kindle Fire -- comparable to Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet.

Still can't make up your mind? Keep the time-limited discount prices in mind, then check out our Kindle Fire vs. Nook Tablet showdown or our guide to picking an e-reader.

Matt Peckham writes for TIME and PCWorld. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, and follow Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

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