RIP Nook Tablets: Barnes & Noble “Surrenders”
I have to admit I haven’t really understood what Barnes & Noble have been doing lately: their attempts to compete with Amazon, Apple, Samsung, et al. in the tablet market just seemed, well, pointless in so many ways. After several “disastrous quarters”, the announcement this week that the largest retail brick-and-mortar bookseller in the U.S. is getting out of tablets is not really a surprise, as they’ve been struggling to compete since last year. And not doing a very good job of it.
They’re not getting out of eReaders, just tablets — it’s an expensive business, you know.
The company will sell off its remaining inventory of Nook HD and HD+ tablets through the holidays and will not [offer] another generation of tablets. Barnes & Noble will, however, come out with a new set of dedicated eReading devices. Like Kobo, which invested heavily in e-readers when the rest of the industry was going tablet-crazy, B&N is planning to zig while everyone else zags – everyone but Kobo, that is.
I guess I can see the point (even though the pundits are all saying we’re moving to reading on tablets). Even in the UK, Kobo is everywhere, barring two of the book chains, one of which has partnered with Amazon and the other with, surprise, Nook. What isn’t a surprise is the move away from tablets when you look at their recent performance.
The company spent the fourth quarter on a discounting blitz for its Nook devices and content, announcing new deals and offers on almost a weekly basis. It also spent time signing several deals to move its Nook distribution system on to rival tablets — most recently the Nextbook tablet and the kids-focused Fuhu nabi, which will now both come pre-loaded with Nook apps.
Should they carry on as they are or try harder to be Amazon? I think the verdict’s still out on that one, even if the consensus is that change is necessary if they want to survive. So yes, RIP Nook HD.
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