When Amazon first created the Kindle, it was meant to be used for reading e-books. Then it became a tablet. Now it might become a cash register.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon — the creator of the Kindle — is working with brick-and-mortar stores and retailers to create a checkout system that uses Kindle tablets. If it’s a go, stores would use the new system as early as this summer. More and more retailers are using handheld devices for checkouts, such as food trucks, Apple, and even Nordstrom.
Amazon officials say retailers would receive Kindle tablets and credit card readers, or receive services from Amazon, such as data analysis.
The plan is still in the works. Nothing is officially set in stone. For now, Amazon is looking to start at small stores, since larger chains generally already use complex, expensive checkout systems.
The real benefit of checking out with a Kindle would be how fast and easy it is to do. But it’s clear than an underlying benefit for Amazon is all the exposure the company itself would get; plus it’s a pretty sneaky way of bringing the Kindle — available online only — into stores.
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.