Barnes & Noble knows it's not winning the tablet race by any margin, but the book retailer is hoping for a big boost for Mother's Day.

The company is discounting its 9-inch screen Nook HD+ tablet by $90, down from $269 to $179. Barnes & Noble is also discounting the Nook HD by $50 from $199 to $149. The Nook HD has a smaller 7-inch screen with a lower resolution than the screen on the Nook HD+.

But besides discounts, Barnes & Noble is also making efforts to improve the products to spur sales. Last week, Barnes & Noble announced it would issue a software update to enable the Google Play digital store on its Nook HD devices.

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By adding the Google Play store, Barnes & Noble is enabling its tablets to work with 700,000 apps. Previously, Nook users were limited to an app selection of 10,000 in the Nook store. The Google Play store also offers millions of songs and thousands of movies and TV shows.

The discounts and the software update may help Barnes & Noble, but it still has a long way to go before it can catch up to rivals.

Nook devices have yet to turn a profit, and sales for Nooks fell during the holiday season by nearly 13%. Barnes & Noble is also far behind its rivals in the tablet market, failing to crack the International Data Corp.'s list of top five tablet vendors based on worldwide sales through the first quarter of 2013.

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