In a mad scramble to rewrite its autobiography as something that isn't filed away in the Greek tragedies section, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) is hosting a media event next Tuesday.

It's been a year since the leading -- and bleeding -- bookseller introduced the Nook, so an update is in order.

The original model had potential. Matching's (Nasdaq: AMZN) Kindle $259 price point, yet raising the stakes with a second small color screen, was a spunky move.

However, when it became clear that it wasn't going to make a dent in Kindle's market -- and with the successful debut of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad -- B&N resorted to a price war.

It shocked the market by aggressively pricing its Nook at $199, with introducing a Wi-Fi-only model at a mere $149.

Maybe B&N figured that the competition would let the Nook corner the entry-level market, but that wasn't the case. Amazon, Sony (NYSE: SNE), and even Borders (NYSE: BGP) responded quickly with markdowns of their own.

B&N backed itself into a corner, and that's a dangerous place to be for a resources-strapped company fighting a hairy proxy battle for its independent survival.

What can it possibly announce come Tuesday? It's hard for B&N to take prices lower, and it's not as if it's a feature or two away from relevancy. Kindle is going to walk away with the dedicated reader space, while Apple and the flurry of tablets will take over the high-end and graphical textbook market.

B&N's best move may be to kill the Nook altogether at this point and see if it can turn a profit on digital delivery for rival readers and tablets. It's not going to do that, though. You don't schedule a media event to announce your retirement. B&N is going to come out with something flashy, powerful, and with a few interesting functions that no other dedicated e-reader can offer, but it's still not going to be a major player in this space.

Its potential buyers are well-read. They can see that this won't end pretty for B&N next week.

What would it to take for you to buy a Nook? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns a Kindle and iPad, but he uses his iPad a lot more. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.