Archive for barnes and noble
Barnes and Noble has just released their 3rd quarter financial results and things are not looking good. The company has seen a decline of 41.3% in Nook e-Reader, Tablet and Accessory sales and the entire division only brought in $51 million dollars. eBook sales were also down 21.2% due to the lower average selling prices of books and total sales were $57 million.
Part of the reason Barnes and Noble is seeing huge declines with their hardware is because of the price slashing. If you look at their portfolio of tablets last year they were making 20% to 30% more on each device sale. In Q2 ’13 the NOOK device prices were $99 for the Nook Simple Touch, $139 Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, $199 for the NOOK Color, and $249 for the NOOK Tablet. Those were some very solid profit margins, but if you look at the prices this year you can get a Nook Simple Touch for $79, which is a 20% loss. Or you can purchase a Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight for $119 at a 15% loss, or a Nook HD $129 -35% loss or finally the Nook HD+ for $149, -40% loss.
As you can see, Barnes and Noble is trying to remain competitive in the hardware sector but it is no surprise that their sales are significantly down. They are trying to still make a go out of selling Nook devices in the hope that digital book sales will make up for the diminishing returns.
If you look at the recent decline in eBook sales, this is partly attributed to the abolishment of the Agency price model of selling books. For the longest time book retailers could charge what they wanted for eBooks and then Apple and the six major publishers came together to even the landscape and charge a unified pricing model for books. Needless to say after about a year in court this pricing model was axed and all contracts had to be renegotiated. This is a win for customers, but B&N is now making a few dollars less for each digital book sold.
eBook prices are one thing, but we have not seen any runaway success stories this year that have been getting people out in droves to buy it. 50 Shades of Grey and the Hunger Games have been critical success stories and those 2 trilogies comprise of the highest grossing eBooks of all time. The lack of 2013 bestseller to capture everyone’s imagination is also a big part of the decline.
One Laptop per Child (OLPC), the global children’s educational non-profit born at the MIT Media Lab, and Nook Media, the device division of Barnes and Noble, announced a partnership that will pre-install a special variant of the Nook apps on OLPC’s US-based XO tablet devices. These devices are part of OLPC’s global initiative to put technology in the hands of young students.
“By partnering with One Laptop per Child, we are strengthening our commitment to make NOOK content available to new and existing customers across a broad range of platforms and devices,” said Mike Saturnia, Vice President and General Manager of NOOK Sales & Business Development. “Through the pre-installed NOOK App for Kids on the XO Tablet, we are opening NOOK’s expansive catalog of more than 3 million titles to even more families and children.”
The Nook App for Kids will let the users browse through a catalog of curated content, while the installed Nook app will also offer their parents access to the 30 million title catalog of the Nook store. These are installed on OLPC’s child-centric learning system tablet, available at Walmart, Walmart.com, Target.com, Toys“R”Us, ToysRUs.com, BrandsMart, BrandsMartUSA.com and OfficeDepot.com for $149.99.
OLPC still supports its laptop initiative in developing countries by donating uniquely designed portable laptops that meet the sometimes nearly-impossible needs of children attending school around the world. Known for its original “Give One Get One” program that let consumers receive a laptop and donate one all for one price, OLPC’s tablet move with the XO tablet is aimed at helping students in the US become better learners and have access to course-changing technology.
The first official day of the Frankfurt Book Fair has just come to a close, and if the remaining days are as packed with innovation and insight as today was, it will be one of the more memorable publishing events. One of the things that is setting this year’s staging apart from some of the recent years is the larger focus on digital publishing, self-publishing, and e-reading.
On the digital publishing front, Good e-Reader spoke with txtr, Barnes and Noble, and Flipick about the recent upgrades and advancements, as well as initiatives in the works.
For ebook reading consumers, we came across brand-new or limited edition devices from four different companies today, including Bookeen, Imcosys, Tolio, and txtr; txrt actually spoke at length about pending plans for a subscription-based reading service, highlighting several features that their platform will offer that the slow-to-adoption subscription reading market has lacked.
And for self-published and traditionally published authors alike, we interviewed representatives from Nook Press, Widbook, Wattpad, and Narr8, a particularly exciting platform for creating and sharing animated and graphic novels.
More so than in years’ past, this year’s event is more involved for everyone who has a stake in the publishing industry, and at anywhere along the book production spectrum. More detailed articles on today’s events are pending, including interviews with the companies and platforms mentioned.
Barnes and Noble admitted during a recent investors’ call that they simply made too many tablets and are sitting on a wealth of inventory. Every day that a unit remains unsold, new models are coming out from their direct competitors and vying for consumers’ attention. Barnes and Noble is again slashing prices in the UK for their entire line of tablets and it could be the incentive people need to buy into the Nook ecosystem.
Beginning today, customers can purchase the 7-inch NOOK HD for just £79 (8GB) and £99 (16GB), while the 9-inch NOOK HD+ tablet is available for just £129 (16GB) and £149 (32GB), both online at NOOK.co.uk and at leading retailers across the UK, while stocks last.
“As families across the UK prepare for students to go back to school, NOOK has made digital reading even more affordable by lowering prices on the NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ tablets” said Jim Hilt, Managing Director, Barnes & Noble. “We are committed to the cause of literacy and learning in the UK and this new pricing on our highly versatile tablets will bring a world of books, apps, films, music and more to customers at an unbeatable value.”
These prices serve to make the Nook line of tablets very compelling. They still have some of the highest resolution displays in the business and their eight inch tablet is fairly solid for reading more graphic heavy content like magazines and kids’ books. All of the company’s tablets are now officially Google certified, so there are no shortage of apps and games to download.
Barnes and Noble added hundreds of college and university newspapers to their NOOK line of e-Readers and tablets today. Major newspapers from leading colleges like Harvard, Columbia, Louisiana State University, Northwestern University, University of Michigan and University of Texas at Austin can now be purchased for as little as $0.99 cents per month. Most of these newspapers are free from the websites and RSS Feeds, but now they are all in one place.
“Through NOOK’s exclusive partnership with UWIRE, we are providing a new and convenient way to stay connected with your favorite college or university,” said Jonathan Shar, Vice President & General Manager, Emerging Content, NOOK Media LLC. “NOOK is now the only place that provides easy access to over 500 digital editions of college and university newspapers, delivering them to students, alumni, faculty, and sports fans, across all NOOK devices and NOOK reading apps.”
College and university newspapers will be delivered to NOOK customers and will feature an intuitive design that makes it even easier and more fun to read newspapers digitally. Subscribers to these newspapers will have new issues automatically delivered to their NOOK Libraries™ as soon as they are available, to read across all NOOK devices and Free NOOK Reading Apps. In addition, NOOK Newsstand already features the largest digital collection of the top 100 bestselling magazines available for both digital subscriptions and single copy sale in the U.S., plus a large selection of leading daily and weekly newspapers, all available to try free for 14 days.
Barnes and Noble is celebrating the realization that more and more reading consumers are using tablet-based e-reading apps for their digital reading needs. To that end, the book retailer is offering free ebook content to new users in the UK who download the Nook app for their devices and register a new user account.
“This great offer of free eBooks and magazines for new customers that download a NOOK Reading App is another part of NOOK’s strong commitment to make reading more affordable and accessible in the UK,” said Jim Hilt, Managing Director, Barnes & Noble, in a statement on the free books. “We are excited about the impact we are making on literacy in the UK this summer with our sponsorship of the Get Reading campaign and the corresponding discounts on the award-winning NOOK devices.”
News came out this week that Barnes and Noble, long rumored to be discontinuing production of its Nook line of devices, would actually continue manufacturing and marketing its e-readers and tablets, although in smaller scale production. At the same time, this venture recognizes that a growing number of consumers want the variety of options that are open to them as tablet consumers, while still benefiting from their customer relationships with specific book and ebook retailers.
Of the titles selected in this promotion, Philippa Greggory’s title has a sequel that has recently been launched and Cassandra Clare’s title’s movie adaptation arrives in theaters shortly. Two magazine titles are also available for free under this promotion, T3 and The Simple Things.
Publisher Simon and Schuster and bookstore chain Barnes and Noble have been locked in a quiet battle since March. The bookstore chain wanted deeper discounts on books and leveraged their in-store ordering to make it happen, leaving authors to contend that this spat was damaging their sales. During the disagreement, Barnes and Noble locations were not providing display space or allowing book tour appearances.
The New York Times reported that, “The dispute centers on the financial arrangement between Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster. While neither side will specify exactly what new terms Barnes & Noble is seeking, a senior executive familiar with the negotiations said that the bookseller wanted to pay less for books and receive more money for giving titles prominent display in its stores. Such display spots are coveted because they are thought to be critical in helping customers discover new books.”
It looks like the heavy handed approach worked, as today both sides released a brief statement saying that the dispute has ended. “Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster today announced that they have resolved their outstanding business issues. Both parties said they look forward to promoting great books by Simon & Schuster authors.”
There is no public information on the new terms and what type of discounts Barnes and Noble is getting from one of the largest publishers in the world. Considering how deeply ebook sales are being slashed in price, B&N should be a little bit more sustainable in their retail book selling business.
Barnes and Noble unveiled Nook Video when they originally launched their Nook HD and HD+ last year. This service allows both buying and renting of television shows and movies, but was only reserved for the company’s official line of tablets. This has changed today, with Barnes and Noble announcing it has unleashed Nook Video for iOS, Android, and Roku boxes.
One of the elements that makes Nook Video stand out from the competition is the integration of Ultra Violet. If you purchase a DVD or Blu-ray movie from select retailers, a free digital edition via UV is provided in the form of a download code which automatically delivers the content to the device.
Customers who have the previous generation Nook devices, such as the Nook Color and Nook Tablet, will now have access to Nook Video. iPad, iPhone, Android, and Roku users can download the app immediately via Apple and Google Play. This is a US-market exclusive, though, and the app will not show up in unsupported countries.
Barnes and Noble has been fairly quiet since the CEO shakeup and the company has recently begun slashing prices on their entire product line. Their entry level Nook HD can be purchased for a paltry $139, and their nine inch tablet is only $10.00 more. Yesterday, they also dramatically lowered the cost of the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, which is now available for $99.99.
Since Barnes & Noble announced that the company is sinking faster than a swimmer with cement shoes, there have been a myriad of articles written on what Mr. Riggio and his golfing buddies should do to right the ship. It’s an important question, but possibly the wrong one. Instead of focusing all of our attention on the retail train wreck, we should be working to ensure a long, prosperous future for those most impacted by Barnes & Noble’s demise – those who create the books. Instead, we should be asking ourselves, “What should publishers do to survive and take control of their own futures?”
In a twisted, drug-induced type of way, the Barnes & Noble debacle could be good news for the publishing world. Necessity is the mother of innovation and adaptation. Over the last few years, many publishers have passively hung their proverbial hats on the progress of B&N and Apple. But the one-two punch of declining sales numbers and the DOJ have hampered these two companies, respectively. Sure, Apple will continue to plod away and grow, but will they grow faster than B&N falls? And does Apple care enough about books to make great strides?
Ironically, the one thing the DOJ says it doesn’t want to happen – one company having monopolistic control over the industry – is beginning to happen. Amazon is in the driver’s seat. And the passenger’s seat. And it’s also taking up most of the back seat and trunk. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Publishers have one unquestionably strong bargaining chip – and that is, content. And they can use it to get back in the game if they make the following moves:
Go on the Offensive – Too many publishers have been playing defense, if you can even call it that. They have watched the industry change. Now they must make the industry change.
Amazon has roughly 70% retail market share of digital books in the U.S. But in the technology space, they are slow to innovate and books aren’t their core business. Just like time is not a friend to the publishers, speed is not a friend to Amazon. It’s hard to steer a ship that is selling televisions, cars, the latest game console, and oh yeah, books. But to date, we’ve given them all the time they’ve needed and more.
Publishers need to act, not react, in the digital space. Take a nod from the startup community. Not every decision will be the right one, but if a decision is made, it can be quickly implemented, tested and measured to determine if it needs to be tweaked. We need agile publishers, and in all fairness to the industry, there are more and more being created every day. An agile publisher would have realized when Goodreads was only a million users that the wave was coming their way . . . and could have built or bought the surfboard to ride it.
But publishers don’t need to create all new things to be on offense. They can also . . .
Set the Standard – Like a unicorn or a troll, nobody has actually seen a major publishing contract with Amazon. But apparently they exist. Every time someone wants to try a new idea, marketing strategy or promotion, the sales prevention team – otherwise known as “legal” – steps in and says, “We can’t do it”. If we did, we’d have to offer it to all our retailers, including Amazon.” Then the conversation stops.
But there’s an easy solution to this – abide by the contract. Offer it to Amazon. Just set the terms with which all retailers have to play. Want to bundle the digital version with the physical sale? Fine, but the publisher requires email addresses of all digital downloads. Want to sell ebooks in bulk to corporations and institutions? Okay, but all corporate accounts require a white-labeled redemption page and reporting. Want to create special promotions and flash sales for a day? Great, but data sharing is required for joint transparency.
If the publishers don’t set the standard for how to conduct business with their content, they will be manipulated by whatever outlets possess the most power. This isn’t healthy for the publisher or the author. There are dozens of areas in the digital space that have yet to be defined. Set the standard now on how content can be utilized. If Amazon doesn’t like it, then other companies will step up and fill the void.
Play to Your Strengths – You can’t be all things to all people. The power of digital is that a publisher or author can carve out a very specific niche – tall Norwegians who like fuzzy bunny slippers, Winnebago owners with bumper stickers, Windows Surface owners who drive Volvos (ok, I’ll admit that last one is a bit of a stretch). Whether these are referred to as content communities, tribes or sales verticals, it is important to clearly define what you will do. And just as important, what you won’t do.
It’s doubtful that any of this is earth-shaking wisdom for publishers. But hopefully it’s a gentle reminder to keep it simple. Move fast. And view your content and experience from a user’s perspective. No single sales outlet or distribution channel should determine the fate of a company. The best way to figure out what the future holds is to proactively be part of the defining process.
Barnes and Noble ran a promotion for three days in the UK that saw a number of bestsellers severely discounted. The Hot Summer Books campaign saw almost 100 eBooks come down in price to a very respectable .99p. The promotion is now over and the books are back to normal.
The big draws of the promotion were Khaled Hosseini’s And The Mountains Echoed, and Dead Man’s Time by Peter James. These books have normalized, although Amazon is still offering the deals for a limited time. Booksellers had called the discounting “madness”, with Peter Donaldson of Red Lion Books in Colchester describing the promotion as “very short-sighted . . . It’s valuing a short-term gain over long-term stability”.
Public libraries and bookstores around the country are rolling out their summer reading programs in an effort to help students retain the progress they’ve made throughout the school year. While educators are all too familiar with the so-called “summer slide,” programs that encourage reading comprehension and exploration can have a valuable impact on students’ ability levels when they return to school in the fall.
This summer, Barnes and Noble is once again encouraging participation in its summer reading program by offering prizes and free books to students who participate. Aimed at students in grades one through six, the program, Imagination’s Destination, runs from May 21st through September 3rd and offers unique incentives throughout the summer weeks.
“Our Summer Reading Program encourages children to read for pleasure, inspiring a lifelong love of reading. It’s so much fun to see a child’s face light up when they turn in their completed journal sheet and get to choose a free book from the store display,” said Sarah DiFrancesco, Director of Business Development for Barnes & Noble, in a statement unveiling the program. “Our stores partner with their local schools and libraries to get the word out in the community. Educators and librarians love the program, too, because they also want to encourage children to read during the summer months. Add our special promotions with Roald Dahl and Dan Gutman books and the best lineup of summer skills workbooks, and Barnes & Noble is truly the best destination for summer reading fun, learning and savings.”
Educators also have special promotional tools and items that can be shared with their students during these last few days of the current school year in the Summer Reading Activity Kit. More than just announcements for the program, these tools help students engage in active reading by asking them to transfer the words on the page to higher order thinking and characterization, and can actually serve classroom purpose throughout the school year.
Information for both parents and teachers can be found in a special educators’ section at bn.com/summerreading.