Nook 3G now $199, Wi-Fi version released at $149

Barnes & Noble began the week by announcing a new lower-priced Wi-Fi-only edition of its Nook e-reader, with a price cut announced for the 3G version.

The Wi-Fi only version of the e-reader will launch with a $149 price tag, while the original 3G Nook will receive a price cut from $259 down to $199.

The new B&N Nook Wi-Fi model is available online today and will find its way to B&N retail stores and Best Buy locations sometime in June.

“People who love to read will find tremendous value with the new Nook Wi-Fi, the most full-featured, low-cost e-reading device on the market, and our best-selling Nook 3G now at an even lower price,” said Tony Astarita, B&N VP of digital products, in a statement.

I think this is a great move for B&N and its Nook e-reader, with so many rival e-readers expected to hit the market before the end of 2010.  The lower-priced Wi-Fi model and cheaper 3G model especially takes aim at the Amazon Kindle e-reader, which still sells for $259.

The Kindle also is being rolled out nationwide in Target stores, so this is the ideal timing for a Nook refresh.  It’s also a good time to roll-out a Wi-Fi device, with Starbucks planning to offer free Wi-Fi in all retail stores starting on July 1.

B&N faced early criticism due to ordering issues and for a shortage of units available late last year.  The book store also faced pressure from The New York Times and other publishers, as they were unhappy with Nook software bugs.  From there, B&N has included free in-store streaming and other upgrades to help woo customers away from other e-readers.