The Nook counter at a Barnes & Noble store (Photo by Karen Horton)

It’s now a little bit easier for customers to purchase a popular e-reader and a tablet computer.

Barnes & Noble recently announced that the prices of one of its Nook e-readers and a tablet have been reduced, and these prices are expected to remain at these lower levels through the busy holiday shopping season. According to this CNET story, The Nook Color e-reader, which was introduced in the last two years, now costs $139. The company’s Nook Tablet models have also seen their prices go down. The 16-GB Nook Tablet now sells for $179, while the 8-GB version goes for $159. The 16-GB model originally went for $249, which means the current price for it is about $70 less, and this tablet was only introduced in 2011.

Aside from the prices changes on these older products, Barnes & Noble is beginning to ship two new products. The Nook HD is the newest version of the company’s e-reader and retails for $229 for its version with the largest hard drive. In addition, the Nook HD+ is a new tablet with a large, 9-inch screen. These items are competing with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, the Google Nexus 7, and Apple’s new iPad mini, a smaller version of its popular tablet.

E-readers and tablets are becoming more popular, especially when it comes to education. Students ranging from the elementary school level to the college level now have more access to these devices, and they always come in handy when there are digital versions of textbooks available for their specific classes. Most Barnes & Noble locations as well as B&N campus-owned bookstores at colleges and universities are stocked with the Nook e-readers. For students who are constantly on the go, these devices offer amazing access and convenience unparalleled to carrying around a bunch of heavy textbooks in a backpack.

Since the prices on these e-readers is falling, there is another incentive for budget-tight college students to buy them. The cost of digital textbooks offers savings of over 60% in many cases, and it’s a wise decision to go with an e-reader and digital textbooks if they are available. Even though recent research has indicated that college students still prefer paper textbooks, the financial struggles of students in some instances may just be enough to convince them to invest in digital academic tools while still using the paper versions of their books that they can’t download digitally. It’s all about finding a balance and always taking prices into consideration.