The Barnes and Noble Nook has never enjoyed the popularity of the Kindle, chiefly because of the limited market penetration. For the most part their hardware and software ecosystem were only marketed to the US and UK. The tides of change are in the air as B&N has announced today that their Nook App for Windows 8 is expanding into 32 countries and 21 languages with customized local market storefronts.
What exact countries are targeted with localized storefronts? Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. The app supports streaming and shopping and has the ability to import ePub and PDF files from My PC and SkyDrive and have them appear in the Nook library.
The expanded presence on Windows is directly attributed to the $300 million Microsoft invested into Nook Media in March 2012. The Redmond based company now owns 17% of Barnes and Noble’s entire Nook division, which includes e-Readers, tablets and eBooks.
Barnes and Noble has always wanted to expand into foreign markets to better compete with Amazon and Kobo. The one thing that held them back were the sheer costs of localizing content, working out new publisher agreements and setting up a distribution network. It seems with the recent Windows 8.1 app update that Microsoft took up the challenge and actually paid them for the privilege.