Tag Archives: Barnes and Noble

Barnes & Noble Launches Nook HD

In an effort to bypass Amazon, Barnes and Noble announced this morning it is releasing two new high-definition versions of the company’s popular e-reader, the Nook HD. This comes after Amazon announced earlier this month it would release four new versions of the Kindle, including the Kindle Fire in HD.

According to the Associated Press, the Nook HD will come in two sizes, one with a 7-inch screen for $199 and one with a 9-inch screen, called the Nook HD+ for $269. It will also be lighter and narrower than Amazon’s new Kindles. In order to compete with Amazon, the Nook HD will offer a video purchase and rental service for both movies and TV shows, making it more of a tablet and less of an e-reader.

Barnes & Noble will continue to sell its Nook Simple Touch and Nook Simple Touch with backlight, but will start phasing out the Nook Tablet and Nook Color.

Experts say there are pros and cons to both the new Nook HD and Kindle HD, as Mae Anderson explains.

On specs alone, the new Nook presents a tough choice for consumers seeking a cheap option to the iPad this holiday, analysts say. The 7-inch Nook HD is slightly lighter and narrower, with a sharper display than the similarly priced 7-inch Kindle Fire.

“If the decision the consumer is making is whether to buy based on hardware, these new Nooks will beat out Amazon,” said Forrester analyst James McQuivey. “But that’s not the decision every consumer is going to make — hardware is only as good as the services the hardware enables.”

So far, Amazon offers more services, McQuivey said, with a bigger app store, and more extensive video library, not to mention Amazon’s vast product offerings and its Amazon Prime free-shipping service.

One thing the new Nook HD has going for it? Some retailers like Walmart and Target have stopped selling Amazon’s Kindle because of the online competition, but Barnes & Noble products will still be available in these stores.

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Has Your Nook Been Nookd?

As an avid e-book reader, I revel in the fact that I can read the word-for-word text of a paperback novel in a portable, electronic way. That’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? But what if the text of the novel you’re reading were not word-for-word the original?

That’s what happened to this person, who came across some manipulations when reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Turns out his Nook had been Nookd. When reading the classic novel on his Barnes and Noble Nook — the same e-reader that myself and millions of others use — he found the the word “Kindled” had been changed to “Nookd” every time it was used. The capitalization and odd/incorrect spelling makes it a dead giveaway that something unusual was going on. After checking an original print copy of the book to make sure he wasn’t losing his mind, he learned that it was in fact changed.

This raises an important question: how often are our books being manipulated by reading them on electronic devices? Was this just a one-off case? Was it a glitch? Or are publishers playing tricks on us and doing this far more often than we think? And was this a direct attack on Amazon’s Kindle?

According to Huffington Post, Superior Formatting Publishing, who formatted the novel for the Nook, admitted there was an error when converting the e-book version for the Kindle to the version for the Nook, as Britney Fitzgerald explains.

From Superior’s explanation:

This happened because all of our titles were originally published on the Amazon Kindle platform first, and the titles formerly had a small paragraph of text describing our works at the beginning of the book. This paragraph had the word Kindle in it several times. When Barnes and Noble released their publishing platform we were obviously excited to offer our books there as well. A Find and Replace was done on the introductory paragraph to replace the word Kindle with Nook (along with some other formatting modifications specific to the Nook editions). On this particular title there was obviously a mistake in which the process was carried out on the entire work, instead of just the intro text.

The error has since been fixed. This slightly hysterical, but mostly ludicrous mistake blows my mind. What do you guys think?

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Microsoft Invests $300M in New Nook Subsidiary

Could the Barnes and Noble Nook  soon be getting a massive upgrade? That’s still up for debate, but it sure has gotten a huge financial boost, thanks to Microsoft.

According to the L.A. Times, Microsoft, which has stayed out of the e-reader business until now, is now giving Barnes and Noble $300 million for its new Nook-led subsidiary. As previously reported, the new branch of Barnes and Noble is something the company’s been considering for the past few months.

The subsidiary, which would act as an entirely separate Nook-led branch under B&N’s umbrella, has the temporary name Newco. Microsoft will get a 17.6 shares in the spinoff. As Carolyn Kellogg points out, however, it’s odd that Barnes and Noble chose Microsoft — of all companies — to help them out.

Microsoft’s investment was, at least by most in publishing, unexpected. Last we heard, Microsoft was suing Barnes & Noble over alleged patent infringements related to the Nook, which could have blocked importation to the U.S. after its offshore manufacture. As part of the new Nook deal, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble announced settlement of the patent suit.

Now that the two companies have kissed and made up, some are wondering what advancements could be made to the second-place e-reader — behind Amazon’s Kindle — with all that extra money.

So I ask you, fellow Nook users, what kind of improvements would you like to see? How do you think Microsoft could change the future of Barnes and Noble, if at all?

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New Barnes & Noble Nook Will Be Backlit

Again, Barnes & Noble has found a way to advance and greatly improve its e-reader before Amazon. The company revealed its newest Nook last week — one with a backlight.

According to The New York Times, the announcement makes the Nook the first e-reader to offer a backlight. It’s a huge advantage for Barnes & Noble over Amazon, particularly because most people do their reading in bed and because people have to turn the light on themselves, as Julie Bosman explains.

But William J. Lynch Jr., the chief executive of Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest bookstore chain, said the new device could be seen as two e-readers in one. The glowing back screen can be activated with the press of a button, but when it is not in use, the e-reader functions as a standard E Ink device, which is easier to read in sunlight than a tablet like the iPad with an LCD display.

That’s not to say other companies haven’t had the same idea. Amazon is hoping to release their version of a backlit Kindle later this year. Plus, the Kindle is still much more widely known than the Nook. But anyone who does their research on e-readers will quickly learn about the Nook’s new capabilities, and I think it can only stand to improve their sales.

The new Nook is called Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight and costs $139. Preorders are available right now. Shipping will begin in May.

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Amazon’s Next Big Thing: A Store?

Amazon is likely the largest and most successful retailer that doesn’t exist in a physical sense…until now…maybe.

According to this article by the Huffington Post, Amazon is planning to open its first store. The store would be located in its city of origin — Seattle, Washington — and could open in the next few months.

There have been rumors about Amazon opening a store for years, but now the popular book-selling and Kindle-creating web site could really use the help. As the article mentions, Amazon is facing fierce competition from Barnes and Noble, with its Nook and its decision not to sell Amazon-published book in any of its stores. Not to mention, not having an Amazon “brick and mortar” store makes it difficult to repair Kindles — unlike, say, the Apple Store, with its ability to easily repair iPads.

No specific design plan has been announced yet. But with the popularity of the site, I could see the store opening and quickly becoming a nationwide phenomenon that will likely spread at a rapid rate.

What do you think?

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Archie Comics Makes Bold Digital Move

Just as e-books are rapidly growing in popularity, so are digital sales of comic books. Just last week, Archie Comics became the first to offer digital copies of its comic books on the company’s Facebook page.

According to this article by Huffington Post, it’s the largest publisher to add their Facebook fans to their digital sales plan. Archie Comics will work with Graphicly to provide the digital copies. Archie is now being touted as one of the more forward thinking comic book companies. This digital move is considered a bold one.

Archie Comics already offers digital copies of its new comic books to readers the day the comics are released. The company’s Archie Comics app has been downloaded 4 million times. They’re also the first to offer Spanish-speaking copies of their comic books. Co-CEO Jon Goldwater explains toHuffPo why this move is such a big deal.

Facebook has been a huge source of fan interaction, feedback and energy. The ability to merge that with our significant digital output is really a no-brainer. No company with our level of reach on Facebook has done this. It’s in the numbers. Having the chance to make our Facebook page a place for fans to not only learn about the company’s news and initiatives but also to sample our titles and build a collection right on Facebook. It’s really a major move toward connecting the potential reader to the product. We make it easy and hopefully create a new, lasting part of our fanbase.

Goldwater explains that once you like the Archie Facebook page, you can click “Comics” and start reading the first few pages of a title. If you’re so inclined, you have the option to purchase the comic book. It seems like a relatively simple process. It blows my mind how little I know about the comic book world, but it IS kind of amazing to imagine a world where you can log onto Facebook and buy whatever digital copy of a book or comic book you want — instead of having to go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Showdown: Barnes and Noble vs. Amazon

Now that Amazon has a growing book publishing industry, authors will have to choose between selling their books on Amazon or in Barnes and Noble and other bookstores across the country. One thing’s for sure; they can’t have it both ways.

Last week, Barnes and Noble released a statement, saying it would not sell Amazon-published books in its stores. According to this article by The New York Times, the decision is the latest punch in the battle between B&N and Amazon. B&N’s chief merchandising officer, Jaime Carey explains the reasoning behind the decision.

“Our decision is based on Amazon’s continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent. These exclusives have prohibited us from offering certain e-books to our customers. Their actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content. It’s clear to us that Amazon has proven they would not be a good publishing partner to Barnes & Noble as they continue to pull content off the market for their own self interest.”

Yikes; it’s clear that the tension between the two biggest booksellers in the country has been growing for quite some time.

Barnes and Noble will still sell Amazon-published books on its web site, but not all of them.

This move by Barnes and Noble may be smarter than it seems. Choosing not to sell Amazon’s books might seem like the company is limiting itself. On the other hand, a good number of authors will inevitably choose not to have Amazon publish their books if it means Barnes and Noble won’t sell them. That being said, it will be interesting to see how many books Amazon winds up publishing in 2012.

*Sidenote: Amazon’s latest publishing move is a book by country singer Billy Ray Cyrus.

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Nook Considers Spinoff, Stock Tumbles

Investors are on edge after Barnes and Noble announced last week it was considering spinning off its Nook business.

Nook has been a beacon of hope for the company, whose physical book sales are otherwise plummeting, much like Borders before it went under. But according to this article by The Street, Barnes and Noble officials are hoping that a spinoff would allow the Nook to expand further, both nationally and internationally. B&N CEO William Lynch explains.

“We see substantial value in what we’ve built with our Nook business in only two years, and we believe it’s the right time to investigate our options to unlock that value,” said CEO William Lynch. “In Nook, we’ve established one of the world’s best retail platforms for the sale of digital copyright content. We have a large and growing installed base of millions of satisfied customers buying digital content from us, and we have a Nook business that’s growing rapidly year-over-year and should be approximately $1.5 billion in comparable sales this fiscal year. Between continued projected growth in the U.S., and the opportunity for Nook internationally in the next 12 months, we expect the business to continue to scale rapidly for the foreseeable future.”

The company says there’s no guarantee that the Nook will branch off from B&N and won’t say anything further until a decision is made.

That being said, stocks plummeted when the news broke, which does not bode well should Barnes and Noble decide to spin off the Nook.

As far as  I’m concerned, the Nook will do well no matter where it sells or who owns it. But it’s a matter of how it will affect B&N. Should it spin off, B&N might suffer the same fate Borders did, and that would be a huge loss for readers everywhere.

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Book Sales Soar During Holiday Season

This holiday season, there were two factors that had bookstore owners concerned: the popularity of e-books and a poor economy. Most expected abysmal sales of print books.

But according to this article by the New York Times, they were wrong. Book sales are up this year from last year. In most cases, stores have seen a 10-30% rise in sales, and that includes independent bookstores and Barnes and Noble.

The closing of Borders likely had something to do with it. Or as I like to think, maybe people are better appreciating physical books now that e-books are taking over. But while November and December sales are up, bookstore owners are concerned about what the dull post-holiday season will bring, as this one explains in the article.

Sales are up 15 percent from last year at Next Chapter Bookshop in Mequon, Wis., the store’s owner, Lanora Hurley, said, speculating that she may have been helped by the closing of a Borders store about seven miles away.

“We’re just going gangbusters and having a great time,” Ms. Hurley said, adding cautiously that she was concerned that it would not last. “I have to say, I’m worried about January. Everybody’s going to open their electronic device for Christmas.”

Hurley has a point. As much as people purchase books this year, they’re also purchasing e-readers. But I think this is all working toward a better future for the book industry. It certainly proves that the industry is alive and well. And apparently entering a new age.

It seems that this year’s holiday bestsellers aren’t fiction books. Nonfiction is leading the way with the Steve Jobs biography, memoirs by the likes of Diane Keaton and Gabrielle Giffords, and political books.

Of course, this is a somewhat natural holiday shopping spike. But could it also mean the Renaissance of the book?

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Books-A-Million to Take Over Borders Storefronts

In the past, the ongoing bookstore battle always featured the same two players: Borders and Barnes and Noble. Now that Borders has closed its doors, a new storefront will be filling in: Books-A-Million.

According to this article by the L.A. Times, the Alabama-based chain is set to replace 14 of the Borders storefronts throughout the country, including those located in Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota.

In all honesty, it doesn’t sound as though Books-A-Million will be all that different from what Borders did and what Barnes and Noble is still doing. According to this article by the Rapid City Journal, it will still be the home to a number of books, a line of e-books for the Nook, and it will have a coffee shop inside, called Joe Muggs.

It’s good to hear that the Border storefronts won’t go to waste completely. But I do wonder how Books-A-Million will be able to withstand the economic hardship that Borders suffered. If it’s the same thing as Borders was, how does it stand to profit? I’m also curious to know if more Books-A-Million stores will open down the road, if it does well.

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