It looks like Barnes & Noble have decided on a response to the and the Kindle Fire, which Amazon launched late last month. It looks like they cannot afford to drop the price of new Nooks, so they are using returned units to offer a lower price.
You can now find a refurbished Nook Touch for $80. That's down $27 from the previous price for a refurb, and it's also (not so coincidentally) the same price as the ad-supported K4.
That's a pretty good price for the 6" ereader, especially considering that it comes with the same warranty as a new Nook Touch and you're afflicted by the ads on the K4. If not for the fact that i don't much like B&N as a company, I would recommend this ereader.
Barnes & Noble have also permanently dropped the price of the NookColor. yesterday someone had it on sale for $135, but B&N were also selling it for $150.
I'm not sure that yesterday's sale price means much; this new refurb price for the NC is clearly a response to the Kindle Fire costing $199. B&N and Amazon are clearly in the middle of finding a new equilibrium for the ereader tablet, and until things calm down it's going to be difficult to find meaning in the sales and special offers.
But is this really the best response to the Kindle Fire? Barnes & Noble are undercutting the KF price, yes, but they are also undercutting themselves. These cheaper refurbs come with the same warranty and B&N make a lot of effort to reassure buyers about the low risk of hardware failure. In the long run, B&N are going to lose sales of the new Nooks.
Would you buy a new Nook instead of a refurb? I'm cheap; I would get the refurbished unit. But I'm curious to find out if there's a reason people would spend the extra money. The $100 extra for a new NC would go a long way towards buying ebooks.