Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nook Tablet No More

Barnes & Noble has thrown in the towel in the tablet game, conceding to iPads and Kindles.  Consumers were no longer embracing their tablet and sales were plunging so B&N decided the best course was to stop producing them.  No doubt, Apple and Amazon are formidable competition and technology leader does not describe the core of B&N, a brick and mortar company.  Try as they might, consumers chose other devices.

And while the announcement calls for the en of their color tablets, B&N will still continue to build and sell their e-readers.  I am not sure I agree with that decision.  Amazon and Apple have built both the infrastructure and the device that consumers prefer.  The decision to keep Nook e-readers going is only delaying the inevitable.  Inevitably the B&N app will be an agnostic entry to downloading books, regardless of the device.  Or perhaps a closer partnership to Microsoft is in order if the decision is to embrace a proprietary library with Microsoft branded products. 

Sad too that the Nook did not save the B&N retail business.  "If Nook hadn’t done so badly, the poorly performing retail segment — which consists of both bricks-and-mortar stores and — would be getting more attention this morning: Retail revenues fell 10 percent for the quarter, to $948 million, and fell 5.9 percent for the year, to $4.6 billion."  More stores are closing than opening with the only bright spot being their college bookstores.

So what is next for Barnes & Noble?  I would profoundly miss their presence in the retail landscape.  While I buy digital books, I still also buy hard copies too.  B&N represents a place of discovery and entertainment.  I believe that while leaving the Nook business is the right move, diversifying merchandise in their retail stores to keep customers coming remains essential.    I want to see B&N survive and prosper. 

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