Barnes and Noble is the largest bookseller in the United States. They sell millions of books annually and have been heavily involved in digital reading since 2009. They have released over 22 different e-readers and tablets over the years. The bookseller exclusively focuses on the USA market since they stock Nook devices in their stores and sell them online, making them a full-service company, one of the only ones of its kind. Is the Nook still relevant in 2024?
Barnes and Noble were always publicly traded with a revolving door of CEO and executive leadership. Sometimes, the Nook was a priority, and under different regimes, it was an afterthought. Things changed in 2019 when B&N was exploring selling the company, and they did, to Elliott Management For About $683 Million. Soon after the aquaporin, the bookseller delisted themselves from the stock exchange and became a private company. They got a new CEO, too, James Daunt, who came from a book-selling background. He started at Waterstones and turned it from a company losing money hand over fist to the largest chain in the United Kingdom. He is currently the CEO of both companies and is doing a tremendous job.
Almost all senior executive members left the company, and outside hires/internal promotions took over key roles. Everyone from e-commerce to book buying to the Nook had new people in charge, and the Nook, ebook sales, and audiobooks are a huge priority. This is why the entire Nook product line was refreshed in the last calendar year, a new audiobook subscription service was unveiled, and a new membership program is proving popular.
Everything on the Nook is not sunshine and rainbows. The software experience is still the weakest aspect. This is primary because they use Google Android as the operating system, even though it is heavily skinned, so you would never know it was running Android. None of the e-readers have killer processors, RAM or speed modes to provide a fluid experience. They would almost be better off switching to Linux like Amazon and Kobo runs. For better performance and longer battery life, Linux lets you get away with lower specs. The Nook also does not have an internet browser, so it is not easy to download books from Overdrive or Project Gutenberg or to read your favourite tech blog, Good e-Reader. Instead, it would be best to jump through many hoops to make this happen, something casual users will not do.
The Nook is still very relevant if you live in the USA. Their devices are great, and they do a solid job at reading books, manga and newspapers. They have readers with small 6-inch screens to their flagship Nook Glowlight 4 Plus, which has a 7.8-inch screen and full audiobook support. The company has the same ebook and audiobook selection as Amazon and Rakuten Kobo, and the exact prices. Nook Readouts is unique; it provides author interviews, podcasts and free ebooks every Friday.