02-24-2013 08:52 PM
There is an article today about B&N. Very interesting. And, I guess there is going to be an announcement this Thursday.
02-24-2013 09:15 PM
If they were smart they would announce things along the lines of the following
1) Membership now affects ebook purchases. On all devices.
2) Windows phones and tablets will now ship with Nook app stock on the device.
3) Possibly also get the Nook app preinstalled on Samsung devices. After all, Samsung is not in the book market.
4) We're going to ease off on the tablet market, and focus on the ereader only devices. We are, at heart, a bookstore. So it makes sense for us to focus on what we know, and that's books. We may investigate tablets at a future date, but for now feel our focus should be elsewhere.
5) We are looking to partner with popular book sites, like Goodreads, so that Nook customers can automatically add their ebooks to their online catalogues.
02-24-2013 09:56 PM
Thanks for sharing AuntyKatKat. That would be very interesting - if B&N pulls back or even stops Nook Tablets and focuses much more on reading apps.
It's very interesting. Given that Amazon around the same time has stopped its ebook associate thing i.e. any site that promotes free kindle books now won't be given any associate revenue if it's selling mostly free kindle books.
So Amazon and B&N are both trying to figure out how to be profitable while selling ebooks.
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02-25-2013 01:30 AM
BN management is being stupid. They had a bad quarter, but it doesn't mean it's time to just drop everything, give customers and developers the finger, and try to limp along with a declining marketshare in a dying market and nothing else to live on.
I personally can trace the very moment BN lost this game: when they started deemphesizing their only real competitive advantage in favor of making international expansion easier. When was the last time they even bothered to refresh the More In Store freebies? During the 1st Edition era they had monthly press releases about the new content! Even into the NT launch they were still running commercials with Jane Lynch dancing and singing about store support. Then it all vanished. Since there's no BN stores in the UK, BN didn't want to foucs on it as a core NOOK experience. Nowadays the marketing material barely even mentions that BN stores exist.
BN lost playing Amazon's game. And that's understandable - Amazon plays their loss-leading proprietary advertising crazy game well. BN simply needs to stop trying to be Amazon and be BN.
1. BN is a college bookstore. The first BN was established to sell medical textbooks. They still run largely profitable college bookstores across the country. And NOOKstudy still isn't on the goddamn flagship brand devices. BN could have a customer in every single college freshman, and make huge institutional sales to school districts looking to go digital. But instead they're letting Apple walk away with the textbook market.
2. Play to the brand. BN is the bookstore for the US. When you say "bookstore" to an American, most of them probably think "Barnes & Noble". Play off that strength. Create a brand that evokes the high-brow reputation the company has. The Read Forever campaign was hugely successful because it evoked that brand recognition. Look at the advertising for the devices today: they're all bubblegum aimed at a sole demographic.
3. Unify. This falls into the last point as well. BN has drastically different experiences on different devices for core features (when they even support a platform, which seems to be getting rarer). Every reading app should operate the same for things like pulling up options, settings (as much as possible), and general appearance. We saw the beginning of this with the Paper UX that the HD series and the Windows 8 app share, but nothing has been done to bring the other apps into line. Having a unifying experience goes a long way towards building a brand identity.
4. Support the troops. I've gone into it at lengths, but in short stop treating your employees and best evangelists like cattle. Seriously. Best competitive advantage and all that.
5. I might have mentioned it before, bu where the hell is NOOKstudy?
02-25-2013 10:29 AM
And instead of doubling-down and figuring out how they can improve, the company is taking the easy way out to make a quick buck.
Guess I'm gonna go start updating my resume.
02-25-2013 10:52 AM
02-25-2013 11:19 AM
I'd add that if B&N is really serious that digital content is where the profits are going to be, they should be making that content available to people who don't own NOOKs. Offering Adobe EPUB as an alternative format is simple, although there are Adobe's fees to deal with. Offering all non-DRMed titles in MOBI format for Kindles, perhaps even with an option to email to the user's Kindle, takes a bit more work but not all that much.
I'm a bit surprised that Riggio reportedly wants to buy BN.com as well as the retail stores. My feeling is that there is no longer any way to make BN.com profitable. When a company has been that screwed-up for that many years, it's almost impossible to straighten the company out.
As a paperwork matter, I wonder how Riggio's expected offer would affect B&N's 75+% ownership in NOOK Media.
02-25-2013 11:32 AM
Lots of news today from AP. I can't post links I'm on Nook atm. If anyones able, plenty of action going on.
Is this what you were looking for?
02-25-2013 11:32 AM
It is hard for me to know exactly what BN should do, or to evaluate the specific recommendations that others have offered. But, for what it is worth, my belief is that BN's nook business went off track by focusing too much on hardware and too little on the customer. I never saw how a retailing company with relatively limited resources and no particular consumer technology experience could ever compete head-to-head in a hardware feature/function battle with tech companies. Yet it has always felt to me that this is what BN had gotten itself into. BN apparently invested heavily to be a technology leader in the ereader business, but that has not been close to enough.
I am not convinced that nook survives this, except perhaps as a specialized vendor for a few niche markets. Unless the company can find a way to offer a clearly superior customer experience, and promotes that rather than hardware features/functions, I don't see it remaining much of a force in the business.
So, what do readers want/value that BN is relatively uniquely positioned to provide? In its decades of retailing, has the company learned something about readers that it can use to alter the basis for competition with online superstores like Amazon? Anything? Or is nook on the way to being the Betamax of the ereader business?
02-25-2013 12:35 PM - edited 02-25-2013 12:36 PM
I hope they focus on their apps for all platforms, rather than betting everything on one (again). There's just too much fragmentation in the NOOK platform today.