Barnes and Noble is in a sordid state of affairs, in the most recent quarter, the company has $11.2 million in cash and $63.7 million in accounts receivable. While it doesn’t have any short-term debt, it does have over $621 million in accounts payable. This means it owes landlords, publishers and suppliers a copious amount of money and their long-term debt sits at $278 million. B&N is in dire straights and they are actively exploring selling the entire company or parts of it, what does this mean for the Nook?
The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight Plus came out in late 2015 and the latest gen Nook Glowlight 3 came out in 2017. Every two years they tend to release a new e-reader, so it is reasonable to think they they will unveil a new product towards the end of the year.
One thing that has been evident in the entire e-reader product line is the big chunky bezels, whereas most companies seem to be slimming them down and making the entire product lighter. I would love to see the Nook slim down and remove some of the bezel on the bottom of the screen, which would require different positioning of the battery. This is not totally unreasonable, because the e-readers are no longer designed internally, instead it is totally outsourced to Netronix, the same company that manufactures Kobo and Tolino e-readers.
What I like about the Nook is that it rolls with the times. It was one of the first e-readers to adopt a front-lit display and jumped on the color temperature bandwagon early. Manual page turn buttons are on all of their devices, giving people an option to use the touchscreen or hit a button. They have an interesting UI and software elements like Nook Readouts. Recently, B&N updated their firmware, removing the restriction on sideloaded content. On the downside it is impossible to backup your purchases and copy them to your computer, B&N does not want their books to be stored locally on anyone’s computers.
If Barnes and Noble released a new e-reader in 2019, what are some of the features you would like to see? A larger screen? Audiobook functionality (B&N Nook Audiobooks is a thing)?
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.