back to article Barnes & Noble's Nook sales take a long walk off a very short pier

Barnes & Noble's ebook efforts continue to falter, with the company's struggling digital division reporting disappointing revenues as it lurches into what could prove to be a difficult holiday season. The Nook division reported total revenues of $109m for the second quarter of its fiscal 2014, a 32.2 per cent decrease from the …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Wrong way round

The Nook devices look perfectly fine, and are priced competitively - the problem is that their ebook ecosystem isn't one that anyone uses. Who checks out the reviews of a book on Barnes & Noble?

Amazon has - for the moment - the ebook lock-in, so unless the Nooks became magically enabled to work with WhisperSync etc. there's little chance that anyone will buy them apart from misguided Grannies thinking they'll make nice pressies for the little ones.

6
0
Silver badge

Re: Wrong way round

True, and it's a real shame as the hardware itself is very nice. That said when I got my nook the first thing I did on it was root it and stick the Kindle software (and a couple of others) onto it.

Makes it a very nice and multi-purpose reader, but isn't exactly what B&N would want me to do with the thing. So essentially the thing becomes a cheap Kindle, and if they're selling it as a loss-leader for the eBooks then the business model falls apart.

And from my understanding I'm far from the only one to do this, so even the Grannies may not be quite so misguided.

5
0

I have both a Nook HD+ tablet and a Nook Glowlight eReader. They're both lovely bits of hardware, certainly way better than the competition at those prices so it's a real shame they never took off.

Sadly I think Amazon/Kindle have the eReader market sewn up simply due to the Amazon brand being synonymous with books so much so that other manufacturers may as well not bother.

B&N never marketed their tablets as 'tablets'. They pushed them as gateways into the B&N ecosystem which no one really cared about being a part of. Had they done this differently and left it up to users to discover that they had access to the B&N store alongside the expected tablet functionality I suspect they would have done better.

2
0

The Nook Simple Touch Glowlight does seem very well made for the now much reduced price. However it suffers from :

1) The slide to unlock just fails a lot of the time, i've never had a first time swipe to unlock work, and swiping double digit times does not a make for a pleasant user experience. You can't even disable it going into lock mode.

2) Too much B&N lock-in I can buy ebooks from any vendor and put them onto the sd-card, so why wont they let you use a minimal web browser to connect to other stores. The B&N store is horrible.

3) No landscape mode. and lots of other niggles, eg poor filehandling, no renaming of books

Even my old Aluretek is a much better reader

1
0
Vic
Silver badge

> i've never had a first time swipe to unlock work

I thought that - but in fact, you probably have.

It's *incredibly* slow to react; I found myself swiping a second time, thinking the first had failed, but if you actually wait that long, it does unlock.

> lots of other niggles

Worst for me is the quality of the PDF reader - it's bollocks. Poor rendering of anything but simple text, and no zooming.

Aside from that, I reall ylike my unit. It was cheap,. and it lets me read ebooks easily. I plan on rooting it to try to get a better PDF reader, though[1].

Vic.

[1] One of my main reasons for getting one was to put airfield diagrams on, so I can find my way around an unfamiliar field without having the book falling open at all the wrong pages all the time. The Nook could be an ideal piece of kit for this - small & light, long-lasting battery, daylight-readable screen, backlight for night flying, and the ability to set out your detinanation/checklist/whathaveyou as the screensaver, so even if the power does fail, you still get to see what you need. But the PDF reader is so totally crap I haven't yet.

1
0

Ebook Price Fixing

Not sure what happened to the lawsuit regarding ebook price fixing but when supply is effectively infinite, why are the books still so expensive. The production costs are no where near as high for a digital format - its not as if they subsidise the cost of the real deal.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Ebook Price Fixing

The production costs of an ebook are about 95% of the cost of the dead tree version. That 5% covers killing some trees, putting ink on them, and shipping them to a building somewhere.

The other 95% covers paying the author, the editor(s), the proofers, the typesetters, the publicist, all the other people at the publishing company (eg sysadmins, accountants etc).

Charlie Stross has a good series of articles about how publishing works from the inside here:

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/02/cmap-2-how-books-are-made.html

tl:dr ebooks aren't overpriced.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Ebook Price Fixing

IMHO they are overpriced, but only by the 20% VAT that is charged on them (not applicable to dead tree books).

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Ebook Price Fixing

Irrespective of the actual economics of publishing, ebooks are still overpriced in one important respect; perception. Its quite hard to persuade the average punter that a few bits of endlessly reproducible code offers the same value/has virtually the same production costs as a tangible object - its hard to beat the appeal of something you can hold. It gets worse when the dead tree version has so many other basic advantages; no hardware to keep up to date for continued access, not tied to one vendors kit, no threat to the longevity if the vendor packs up shop, no initial outlay just to allow you to read it.

But worst of all is the currently dreadful situation with lending books out - only once per book both B&N and Amazon and only for 14 days in the latter case. Since passing titles you own around at will is such a basic part of book culture, it's going to be a deal breaker for an awful lot of people to lose the ability to do so.

When music moved from vinyl to CD, prices went north and a lot of perceived value gained from limited edition coloured vinyl, inserts and gatefold sleeves disappeared along with the size A lot of people refused to budge for a long time until prices dropped or records were simply no longer made. Something is going to have to give (quite a bit really) at some point with ebooks on lending and price, or legal sales are going to remain very, very limited, although reader sales will doubtless continue apace, though they'll be stocked with pirate copies.

The publishing industry has been incredibly slow off the mark in the first place, and on current form stands a pretty decent chance of repeating most of the headline howlers of the music industry and ending up in a place just as ugly, since the only really concrete selling point for ebooks at the moment is convenience.

2
0
Bronze badge
Trollface

ebook prices...

All companies work on a "pay the staff what's left over is profit" basis.

Publishing companies have spent decades reaming us for dead tree versions (in the UK the "fixed retail price"), and they just want to stay cosy like all companies. I am NOT saying their costs are not a large part of producing a book, but it is complete FUD to say that e-books have not changed the market.I would suggest this is yet another industry that is struggling to adapt to the internet era and as was pointed out earlier in the comments "B&N have lockin on their device". There's the rub. So does Apple, and Amazon, they just DO IT BETTER.

I have dead tree versions of Terry Pratchett books, lets try an experiment, "Mort".

"The brazilian forest store" - Kindle $5.69 , paperback $8.99.

B&N - Nookbook $5.99 , paperback $9.99.

If you want the nice hardware, B&N are selling the simpletouch and HD for $39 and $79, respectively.

P.

0
0

Is it me..

Or does _everything_ Microsoft touch turn to sh!t

3
1

From Mashable, there is this:

"Barnes & Noble uses a technology called Digital Rights Management to protect copyright content. Its DRM uses identifiers to encrypt the customer's valid credit card on file.

"Therefore the customer must have a valid credit card attached to their account to purchase new NOOK content or download previously purchased NOOK content with no additional charge,” president digital Products, Jamie Iannone, tells Mashable."

Probably not a big reason for slumping sales, as the average consumer probably doesn't know this, but I am sure this has angered many customers.

1
0
Silver badge

Wouldn't that mean if you get a different credit card (new or replacement one with a different number) and update your account with it, then suddenly all your DRM registrations become invalid and you can't access your previously purchased stuff?

I hope I'm mis-interpretting the quote, but given how crazy DRM can get sometimes I'm not 100% sure.

0
0

yep, this has pissed me off

the big mistake b/n made was to not allow the google store on the tab. i have used my tab to look at movies and surf when i travel and it works great but no google store for games etc.

also the price on books of substance (not fiction / romance foolishness) is way too high i.e. hard back may cost $29 ebook $25 ???!!!??? the only advantage on a plane is portability

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums