back to article Aaah, what's that smell, Nook? Yes, it's death: Barnes & Noble to jettison e-book biz

Barnes & Noble has announced plans to spin off its floundering Nook e-book business as its revenues continue their long decline. On Wednesday, the bookseller reported retail revenues of $956m for the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2014, more or less flat from the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, revenues from the Nook division were …


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  1. Steve Mann

    Fixing the Game

    "We have determined that these businesses will have the best chance of optimizing shareholder value ... "

    Glad to see the focus is hard on the core business values.

    e-book readers? Who are they then?

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Ah.. buzzwords meaning something else...

    "We have determined that these businesses will have the best chance of optimizing shareholder value if they are capitalized and operated separately," CEO Michael Huseby said.

    Ah.. translation: "The Nook is losing money and costing a fortune on my stock options."

  3. AJ MacLeod

    It's a shame that Amazon are quite as dominant as they are in this field. The nook simple touch is much nicer than its Kindle competitor... I haven't bought a single book on mine though and I don't really see that changing any time soon (I bought it to read Project Gutenberg books - if I'm paying I'd like to see real paper for my cash thanks.)

    I suppose that makes me part of B&N's problem... I certainly got the hardware at a bargain price.

    1. steward


      It's nice that you haven't spent any money on Project Gutenberg books on Nook.

      I bought an edition of The Wealth of Nations, and discovered once I e-opened it that it was a Project Gutenberg book. It's illegal to sell those. I contacted Nook and asked for a refund, and they said it was not refundable under any circumstances. (And they said they had no intention of investigating the provenance of the person that marketed it to them, or of pulling the book.)

      So, after having had a B&N membership card for over 20 years... I switched to Amazon. They have superior customer service; too bad that B&N forgot that customer service was important.

      1. AJ MacLeod

        I can see how it'd be annoying to pay for something which is also available for free but I'm not sure it's illegal; from the Gutenberg FAQ:

        C.7. What can I do with a text that is in the public domain?

        Anything you want! You can copy it, publish it, change its format, distribute it for free or for money...

        I have no particular fondness for B&N (though I do for the hardware) and have never had to test their customer service - it's just a shame that there is effectively no major competitor to Amazon in this field to keep them on their toes.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Full marks for trying

    Must admit they tried their damndest to get people reading by offering cheap e-readers ( eg. Last years's £29 Nook SImple offer - followed by the glow). Very good and very reasonable and very readable.

    Its just that there's only so many books people will buy per annum. Most are copied/regurgitations and free downloads & such.

    They tried the Gillette approach ( Give the Razor sticks free and they will come for blades). Blades are consumables and books are not (as a necessity).

    Hence the predicament.

    SO B & N. Do conduct another big sell off and we shall buy the reading hardware. Thanks for setting the bar. (amazon readers, although good, are a rip off price wise). Nook pricing is where the real levels should be. Sweet spot.

    Well tried & congrats for that.

  5. joeW

    "Nook pricing is where the real levels should be"

    Not if one wants to turn a profit on them apparently.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    perhaps if they made ebooks cheaper than the corresponding paperback then more would buy, I know I would.Plus in the UK we have to pay vat on ebooks but not on paper books, why?

  7. rizb

    "Barnes & Noble cautioned that spinning off Nook might not be as easy as it sounds."

    Apparently not, since didn't they spin off Nook already a couple of years back with (if I recall correctly) an extra $300 million from Microsoft?

    Am confused. Please enlighten.

  8. DToma

    I had the opportunity to do a side by side comparison of Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook. The Kindle had buttons and the Nook had a touch screen. Even with these minor differences, I found the Kindle to be more responsive. At one point, the Nook displayed what appeared to be two separate pages stuck together. The Kindle seemed to have more menu options. My overall impression was that Kindle was the better option for me.

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Doesn't sound like you were comparing two equal models (there are lots of Kindles and several Nooks) - the Nook simple touch has both hardware page turn buttons (dirt/waterproof, under the rubber coating of the front bezel) and a touch screen. It doesn't have a physical keyboard but despite being a hater of touch screen keyboards I've found it to be really quite good - significantly less horrible than the tacky plastic buttons on Kindles so equipped.

      Last time I checked the guts and screen were identical to those in the matching Kindle, and they were running the same Android OS - in fact you can fairly easily root the simple touch and install the Kindle software if you really felt the need. The ability to easily root the Nook was another item in its favour for me, but it works so well for me as it is that I'm not going to bother.

  9. Old Lady

    Such a pity, the Nook is a nice tablet to use as an e-reader.Although I have a Kindle I bought a one when they were selling them off plus a few e-books from B&N. Like Apple they require a credit card number but unlike Apple they didn't sell gift cards/vouchers online or in stores in the UK. After having my credit card cloned by a dishonest member of staff working for an online company I do not like to have my credit card details held on record so I buy gift cards where possible & use them against my account. After seeing a few enquiries re vouchers on the forums from people in the UK who had bought a Nook as a gift & wished to add a gift voucher & seeing the answer given was B&N had no plans to issue gift cards/vouchers in the UK I cancelled my account. Sainsbury's ebooks don't issue gift cards/vouchers either, I hope they don't go the same way which would be even more of a pity in the UK because that would leave the 3 big companies dominating the market with Amazon out in front.

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