Will the Nook survive?

04 Mar

I spent several hours on Friday setting up my old Nook for my mother to use. She’s always been a voracious reader and just recently decided she wanted to try an e-reader. She’s like me in that sometimes technology eludes her, so she didn’t want to buy a new one, only to find out she couldn’t remember how to operate it. I had the Nook, my first e-reader, in a drawer, so we started an account at Barnes and Noble and downloaded eight mysteries for ninety-nine cents each. She was thrilled, and as I left her house Saturday at noon, she was happily immersed in one of her new books.
Today as I was reading an online blog, this article jumped out at me. It states Barnes and Noble’s revenue for the third quarter decreased by 8.8 % over the same period last year. While their nearly 700 brick & mortar stores and 600 college book stores saw a decrease in sales, the biggest losses came from their Nook digital division. Nook revenue was down by around 26% from the same time last year because of low holiday season sales.
Even with the low device sales, their digital content sales increased 6.8%. The loss comes at a time when there is a boom in sales for other tablets and e-readers. The company says it has a plan to significantly reduce Nook’s expenses.
“In terms of the Nook Media business, we’ve taken significant actions to begin to right size our cost structure in the Nook segment, while also taking a large markdown on Nook devices in order to enhance our ability to achieve our estimated sales plans in subsequent quarters,” said William Lynch, Barnes & Noble CEO in a statement. Okay, I’ve read this quote several times and still don’t know what “right size” means.
The same article states that Barnes & Noble stock rose 12% on the news that the company’s chairman and largest shareholder Len Riggio was interested in buying the bookseller’s chain of nearly 700 U.S. retail stores and taking them private.
What does this all mean? You guess is as good as mine. As a Kindle owner, I was surprised at the limited number of free and cheap books on B& as compared to Amazon. Personally, I hope Barnes & Noble and Nook get their act together and continue to be viable players in the e-book market. There’s nothing like entering a Barnes & Noble store and browsing books. And as much as I love Amazon, but I’d hate to see them become the only choice.
All I know is that at this point, if Mom decides to buy a new e-reader, I’ll steer her toward the Kindle. Barnes & Noble’s future is too shaky to bet her e-reader on.
How many of you use a Nook? What do you think of Barnes & Nobles’ chances of recovering from this setback?


Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Idaho


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18 responses to “Will the Nook survive?

  1. Susan Russo Anderson

    March 3, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Great article, thanks Stephanie, and I shudder to think what’s going to happen with the Nook. I’m with you, I really hope that B&N survives and flourishes.

    For now, the numbers indicate that Amazon has been more effective in enticing readers to buy more ebooks and enticing authors to select Amazon exclusively to sell their ebooks, so in addition to effective cost cutting, B&N needs to focus on the way they do ebook business.

    When it comes to promotion, I’m not so sure that promotion by making ebooks free is a good thing in the long run and I hope we’re at the end of that trail, but I read somewhere that 99¢ is the new free, so I think your observation regarding promotion at B&N is really right on.

  2. stephanieberget

    March 3, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Thanks for your comment, Susan. The article didn’t pose a very rosy future for B&N unless, like you say, they change the way they do business. It’s too bad.

  3. marsharwest

    March 3, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Stephanie, I read a similar article. I gotta tell you I wasn’t thrilled. Even though I didn’t understand it all. LOL I own a Nook Color and dearly love the device. Frankly, I’m a little uneasy with Amazon. I don’t like monopolies, and it seems to me that’s what they almost have and will (so far as books go) if we loose B & N.
    I’m going to do my part by buying more books for my nook from B & N. (I don’t get how to do the “whatever techie thing” to get books from Amazon so I can read on my computer, so I miss a lot of friends’ books. Sad times in many ways for the book industry. I hope B & N can figure it out.

    • stephanieberget

      March 3, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      Marsha, I agree. I liked my Nook and its been a trouper, continuing to work without a hitch for over three years. I hope B&N gets their act together and does right by the Nook.

  4. Judith Keim

    March 4, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    I have a Kindle Fire, which I love, especially the back lit text. I buy most of my books through Amazon which is and will continue to be a strong force in the industry. So, while I love B & N as a store, I would not buy a nook in the future. Love that your mom reads so much. Mine did too.

    • stephanieberget

      March 4, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      Judy, it’s too bad that they cant figure it out.

  5. Janis McCurry

    March 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    I’m of the clan Macintosh, so I have an iPad. I think one of the issues B&N was faced with was the proprietary nature of their content. While Amazon has an app that iPad can use to get e-content, B&N content can only be used by a Nook, which limits the variety and amount of the content. I have the Kindle App on my iPad and so have both Amazon and iBooks to choose from. I’m with you, Steph, that I don’t like to see alternative devices go down. We like choice!

  6. stephanieberget

    March 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Janis, I agree. When B&N limited their content, they locked themselves out of many sales. I hope the realize the problem and fix it.

  7. Lynn Mapp

    March 5, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    My son and daughter-in-law gave me a Kindle for Christmas. Sorry, I don’t have Nook experience.

    • stephanieberget

      March 5, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      I have had both and loved both. I have a Kindle now and will probably stay with Kindle because of Amazon’s better service.

  8. Peggy Staggs

    March 5, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    We (CBC) were gift wrapping at Barns and Noble the first year the Nook came out. Our table was next to the Nook salesman. All I kept hearing was, “It doesn’t do that at this time, but we’re working on it.” That was enough for me to put them on my don’t buy list. My husband bought me a Sony Reader for Chirstmas that year. I quickly learned that with a computer type format (the screen refreshes and causing it to flicker. Your concious mind doesn’t notice it, but your eyes do. I couldn’t read for very long.
    I ended up with a Kindle Paperwhite and I love it. I got my husband and son Kindle Fires for Christmas and they use them all the time.

  9. stephanieberget

    March 5, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    I love my Kindle Fire. Amazon puts out the best product in e-readers. I just hope B&N can give them some competition, but I’m not holding my breath.

  10. Jennifer

    March 5, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    I don’t have a Nook but I hope they figure it out. A monopoly is never good.

  11. Corina Mallory

    March 5, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    One of the big problems with B&N is that they invested all this money in developing fancy video-ready tablets and there is little to no actual video you can watch on them. Their content is just so limited! Back before I owned an e-reader I shopped around for ebooks on both B&N and Amazon (and Kobo and Powells) just to see what the experience is like. Amazon’s website isn’t perfect, but it is about 1 million times easier to use than B&N’s. The customer service differential is also enormous and heavily weighted in Amazon’s favor. I don’t want Amazon to be the only game in town, but … they’re just BETTER. I have an oldschool e-ink Kindle keyboard model and a Fire and use them both constantly. But I do make an effort to shop around for content. I buy some books directly from publishers and OmniLit and AllRomance make it incredibly easy to send non-DRM books to your Kindle. (And if someone wanted to crack DRM *cough* it’s not hard. Or so I’ve heard.) Back before my beloved Fictionwise disappeared (oddly enough it was owned by B&N) I bought tons of books for my Kindle there using their awesome 60% off coupons. Just because you buy a Kindle doesn’t mean you need to buy all your books from Amazon.

    I hope B&N sticks around as a bricks and mortar option, but I doubt the Nook will last unless it partners with some serious content providers.

    • stephanieberget

      March 5, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      Corina, you summed it all up. I may need your help in figuring out how to order books for my kindle from these other sites.

      • Corina

        March 5, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        I would be happy to help you Steph! I love Amazon, but I like to spread my dollars around at least a little bit and sometimes AllRomance or buying directly from a publisher (if there’s a sale or coupon) is actually cheaper. Let me know when you want a tutorial 🙂

        • stephanieberget

          March 6, 2013 at 7:57 AM

          My publisher sells a lot of books off their website. I need to learn how to load from them to my kindle. I’ll email you or maybe we can get together if you come down. No hurry.


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