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Barnes & Noble is now just giving Nooks away

The company has announced a limited time deal where customers who order a Nook HD+ will receive a free Nook Simple Touch E Ink reader

The Barnes & Noble Nook has always been a scrappy underdog to Amazon's Kindle line. But it looks like the brand's Rocky-ish run may be heading more for a The Wrestler-ish demise. At least, if the company's latest deal is any indication.

The company has announced a limited time deal where customers who order a Nook HD+ tablet ($269 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 32GB version) between March 24th and March 31st will also receive a free Nook Simple Touch E Ink reader ($79).

This is a good deal for families trying to decide if they should purchase an e-reader or invest in a more brawny tablet.

While the Nooks have consistently received generally good reviews (including the Nook HD+, which received high marks from us just a few months ago), they have failed to stay a major player in either the e-reader or tablet markets against furious competition from Amazon, Apple, and various Android tablets.

As a side note: Some consumers may have been turned off by the fact that the Nook tablets (including HD+ and Color) run on a proprietary OS built over an Android architecture. However, the tablets can be converted to a fairly capable straight Android tablet via SD cards like those sold by N2Acards. From experience, I know that works pretty well.

Does this clearing of inventory spell doom for the Nook? Back in February, the company told TechHive that it had no plans to discontinue the Nook line B&N after the company announced that it fell far short of their predicted sales goals. Either way, the company certainly has some excess inventory to off-load.

Hope this isn't a sign of desperation for the beleaguered Nook. I'm rooting for them.

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