In an attempt to resuscitate its failing e-reader division, Barnes & Noble has decided to split into two companies.
According to Mashable, the company will separate the division for its Nook e-readers into a separate company by the end of the first quarter of 2015. Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby released this statement:
“We believe we are now in a better position to begin in earnest those steps necessary to accomplish a separation of NOOK Media and Barnes & Noble Retail. We have determined that these businesses will have the best chance of optimizing shareholder value if they are capitalized and operated separately.”
Basically, this means he hopes the separate Nook company will be more flexible on its own and therefore acquire more partnerships or even new owners. Microsoft, for example, could theoretically purchase the company. But branching off may have little to no impact on the Nook company. It’s been struggling for years, and has continued to decline in sales revenue, as other e-readers and phone apps compete in the digital market.
Guess we’ll have to wait at least another six months to see what happens.
Imagine if there were a subscription program like Netflix, but for e-books. Well, luckily there is.
According to The New York Times, publisher HarperCollins has recently struck a deal with the web site, Scribd, which is already used for sharing documents and books. Consumers can pay a flat fee each month to the site to access a large number of e-books.
The site, Oysterbooks.com, already has a similar program, offering access to more than 100,000 e-books for $9.95 a month, but it hasn’t gained much popularity.
The owners of Scribd hope the site will have more success, but so far, HarperCollins is the only major publisher that signed up. Smaller publishers like Rosetta Books, Workman and Sourcebooks have also signed up.
So readers still have more options for books when they go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble’s web site. However, a Netflix-life program for e-books seems like a pretty simple, but brilliant idea. But I only see it becoming successful with readers that consume many, many books each month. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem worth it to me.
Expanding the digital library on your Kindle just got a whole lot cheaper. Amazon announced a new service this week called Kindle Matchbook.
According to Entertainment Weekly, people looking to buy e-books for their Kindle that they’ve already bought in print can now do it through Amazon for a discounted price. Amazon Matchbook applies to any print book a customer has bought from Amazon since 1995, when Amazon first started. Matchbook will allow customers to check their purchase history to see what they’ve bought and buy the books in e-book form for $2.99 (some are even free), rather than paying full-price for the books they already own.
The program is set to launch next month. Amazon spokespeople say it will have 10,000 e-books available for discounted prices.
On a personal note, I think this is a great idea. I’ve always thought it was bad business to have to buy two copies of the same book if you want it on your e-reader. I wondering how long it will take for Barnes & Noble to come up with a similar plan for its Nook?
Barnes and Noble is now joining in with fellow competitors, Amazon and Apple, in the world of self-publishing.
According to Slash Gear, B&N is launching NOOK Press, a rebranded version of B&N’s old PubIt! platform. NOOK Press will allow independent authors to publish their books and make them available ebooks, costing between 99 cents and $199. The books will be available on the Barnes and Noble web site and in the Nook Book Store.
However, B&N will take a percentage of teh sales: 30% of books that cost less than $9.99 and 60% of books that cost more than $9.99. Sounds steep, but apparently Amazon and Apple have similar rates, as Craig Lloyd explains.
[,,,] it’s right up there with Amazon’s 30% and 65% cut that they take from authors with their Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Plus, Apple takes the same 30% cut Apple from iBooks Author.
Right now, NOOK Press is only available in the U.S., but it’s expected to become available in the UK as well. So independent authors….hop on board!
Disappointing sales and the fall of the bookstore are contributing to the closure of more Barnes and Noble locations. And this week in particular, there are signs that Barnes and Noble is perhaps doing even worse than we thought.
According to this blog post from Melville House Books, sales from this past holiday season absolutely plummeted — an 11% decrease in store sales and a 12.6% decline in Nook sales. Ultimately, hundreds of Barnes and Noble stores closed across the country throughout the holiday season. Most frightening about these closures is that most of them happened in large cities, like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
And yet, it gets worse. According to Huffington Post, this week through March 30th, the chain store is giving away the Nook Simple Touch for free with every purchase of the Nook HD+, reporting that its Nook business saw a steep 26% decline in sales in its holiday quarter.
Apparently, as color tablets rise in popularity, the desire for a Nook Simple Touch (a black-and-white standard e-reader) has diminished.
So what does this all mean for Barnes and Noble? One thing’s for sure. It doesn’t look good.
It’s been months since the e-book pricing lawsuit began. Now that some parties have reached a settlement agreement, people are starting to receive emails from Amazon and Barnes & Noble about receiving e-book refunds.
According to The Telegraph, Amazon was first to send out the emails, explaining that those who purchased e-books that appeared on The New York Times Bestseller List between April 2010 and May 2012 from the web site would receive $1.32 per book. Non-bestsellers would be worth 30 cents in refunds. The refunds aren’t expected to come in until early 2013.
I personally received a similar email from Barnes & Noble about the refunds. Here’s an excerpt:
Although we are required to notify you now of the settlements, there is nothing you need to do to receive the credits as you will receive them automatically in the form of an electronic gift certificate sent via email. Once the settlements’ claim period ends, the Attorneys General will calculate the amount of your credits. If the Court gives final approval to the settlements, we expect to be able to send you your gift certificate in the first half of 2013.
Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster will be compensating for the refunds, since they agreed to the settlement. Penguin Group, Macmillan, and Apple will be taken to court.
As Amazon continues its reign as online retail powerhouse, Wal-Mart will no longer sell the Amazon Kindle in its stores.
According to The New York Times, Wal-Mart will sell what’s left of the Kindles with no plans to re-stock once they run out. Kindles will also be pulled from walmart.com and Sam’s Club. Wal-Mart will, however, continue to sell similar e-readers by other companies, including Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble, and Samsung.
Wal-Mart did not give a reason for the drop, but analysts say it’s obvious. Amazon has become more of a competitor than companion. Experts say when people shop in stores like Wal-Mart and see the Kindle, it encourages them to go home and purchase the Kindle online along with books, games, and movies from Amazon.com, taking Wal-Mart’s business elsewhere.
Analysts also say the drop won’t affect business at Wal-Mart very much, as Stephanie Clifford and Julie Bosman explain.
Moreover, the Kindle line, and most tablets, are only marginally profitable for retailers, said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research.
“A lot of them have had it with tablets other than the iPad,” she said. “They’re not high-margin products, and other than Apple ones, no one is selling these devices in great volumes anyway. For Wal-Mart to drop Amazon is more of a symbolic blow rather than a substantive one.”
Wal-Mart’s not the first store to drop Amazon Kindle products. In May, Target also dropped Amazon products from its stores.