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5ivedom
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Re: Nook placement in stores

Wishful thinking?

 

I have 1.5 years worth of Nook Apps coded in Android. Why would I WISH for Windows 8 based Nooks?

 

It's what the signs are pointing at. The GIANT signs i.e.

 

1) Microsoft investing $300+$300million in Nook Media and getting 18%.

 

2) Constant Rumors of 7" Tablets with Windows 8 and perhaps made by B&N.

 

3) Android failing for B&N because of all the stupid Android decisions like MTP and because 'Android' makes people think 'free apps' and 'free everything'.

 

4) Current troubles with Nook HD and HD+ which would be less if they had a BIG app store.

 

5) The money and other things Microsoft will dangle in front of B&N to make Windows 8 Tablets.

 

*****

 

Think of it this way - Microsoft's Azure Cloud COmputing Platform is now a $1 billion a year revenues business (supposedly). That adds to - Windows, Office, Server Tools, Sharepoint, Surface (run rate of $1 billion+ easily), Xbox, and 3-4 others.

 

For Microsoft, adding Nook Media as another (albeit partially owned) billion dollar business makes a LOT of sense.

 

As does getting store space in every B&N store.

 

For B&N, partnering up with Microsoft makes a lot of sense. Microsoft was willing to lose $1 billion a quarter on search and did for years.

Losing a few hundred million a quarter on Nook devices - Not an issue.

 

Because even 1 million less iPad and Kindle Fire sales a quarter means 1 million less Amazon customers or 1 million less Apple customers.

 

And in the meantime Microsoft can keep improving its software and hardware. In the best case Nook revives using Windows 8 and takes up 10% market share in tablets. Meanwhile Surface takes up 15%. Suddenly Windows 8 has 25% tablet share (while IDC was projecting 17% market share by 2016).

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Omnigeek
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Re: Nook placement in stores

I guess I don't see the microscopic signs you're pointing to.  Sure, it makes sense for Microsoft to get a foot in with a media source but does it make sense for B&N to completely change platform infrastructure (especially while supporting the older devices)?

 

I have constant rumors of 7-inch tablets with Windows 8 but NO rumors of Windows 8 tablet made by B&N -- not even incredible ones.

 

I don't see that Android has failed for B&N despite the "developers" and other people whining about not having free apps or access to Google Play.  The NST is still a helluva platform and one of the best ereaders available.  There are plenty of things to theorize about in trying to explain why the HD and HD+ haven't taken over the market but it's certainly nothing that Windows would fix for them.  Windows 8 would be even more likely to fail for them since Microsoft would want to sell all Windows apps under their own storefront rather than B&N's garden.

 

A Windows 8 Nook app and sourcing into B&N's media library makes all kinds of sense for MS and their investment but it has nothing to do B&N changing the Nook from Android to Windows 8 or even Windows Blue.

Currently reading: Destiny of the Republic, Angel Fire East, Batman Year One, Appleseed
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keriflur
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Re: Nook placement in stores


5ivedom wrote:

 

1) Microsoft investing $300+$300million in Nook Media and getting 18%.


Microsoft invested in Apple and that didn't lead to the end of Apple making their own OS.

 


5ivedom wrote:

2) Constant Rumors of 7" Tablets with Windows 8 and perhaps made by B&N.



There are constant rumors of B&N's demise also.  Rumor =/= fact.


5ivedom wrote:

3) Android failing for B&N because of all the stupid Android decisions like MTP and because 'Android' makes people think 'free apps' and 'free everything'.



This is another of your assumptions.  Lots of people have corrected you on this, but you still state it as if it's fact.

 


5ivedom wrote:

 

4) Current troubles with Nook HD and HD+ which would be less if they had a BIG app store.



Win8 does not have a BIG app store.


5ivedom wrote:

5) The money and other things Microsoft will dangle in front of B&N to make Windows 8 Tablets.



This goes back to my rebuttal of #1.  Apple isn't making Windows tablets.

 

Bottom line:  We don't actually know what B&N is going to do, and until we do, a Win 8 nook is a possibility, but so are new Android nooks.  Or no new nooks.  All we actually know is that B&N has stated that they will stop focusing so much on hardware.

flyingtoastr
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Re: Nook placement in stores

To be fair, soon after Microsoft invested in Windows there was a huge cross-platform push from both companies's core software products (Office, QuickTime, etc.).

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keriflur
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Re: Nook placement in stores


flyingtoastr wrote:

To be fair, soon after Microsoft invested in Windows there was a huge cross-platform push from both companies's core software products (Office, QuickTime, etc.).


You mean Apple, right?  :smileywink:

 

And the same has happened with B&N - there is a nook app for Win8 phones, and a nook app for Win 8 PCs.  I would not be at all surprised to see a special version of the Office suite for the nook.

 

But, that's not the same as changing the OS.

 

 

flyingtoastr
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Re: Nook placement in stores

Whoops.

 

I think we'll start to see some pretty tight integration between the NOOK platform and Windows (like how you can use a Microsoft account in leiu of a BN account), but I generally don't see BN dropping Android any time soon.

 

Primarily it would be because of licence fees - Android is free, Windows is $80 a device (though supposedly 8.1 is going to change the OEM pricing structure).

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Wulfraed
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Re: Nook placement in stores

I have a vague memory that MicroSloth was essentially pressured to invest in Apple by the government at a time when Apple was close to going out of business. So long as Apple was alive it meant M$ wasn't a monopoly, and the Feds wouldn't come after them.

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kamas716
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Re: Nook placement in stores


Wulfraed wrote:

I have a vague memory that MicroSloth was essentially pressured to invest in Apple by the government at a time when Apple was close to going out of business. So long as Apple was alive it meant M$ wasn't a monopoly, and the Feds wouldn't come after them.


That sounds like pure DC politician thought process there.  "If you buy a chunk of your competitor we won't consider you a monopoly."

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Ya_Ya
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Re: Nook placement in stores


flyingtoastr wrote:

It actually mainly involves margins. The margins on printed books have always fairly low - in the 10 - 15% range after all the costs are taken out. With the drastic slow down in paper book sales BN simply isn't making enough cash from straight book sales, and even going to a smaller store format wouldn't really fix the problem.

 

So they branched out into high margin catagories like toys, coffee, and knicknacks. It really does stink, but the average BN is still carrying ~100k unique titles, so they're still the best place to browse. Just not as great as they used to be.


Joseph Beth was doing this ten years ago.  (They're no more, if people don't know what I'm talking about.)

 

For the record, I like the "other things" at the bookstore.  I like the Architecture Legos, the board games I can't find anywhere else, the 3D Puzzles.  It gets frustrating when there's more of that stuff than the books.  I get why it happens, but I want more books...

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TriscuitCracker
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎02-27-2013

Re: Nook placement in stores

If Len Riggio ends up buying the company back excluding Nook I'd like to believe he'll improve the bookstore experience with more stock and more titles. Go back to the basics.  I think we should get rid of the tablets all together and just sell e-readers and try to put the Nook App on as many devices as possible. Also include a 5% off all ebooks if you buy a Membership.  I miss the days when it was all about bookselling and now it's all about the sales and bn membership numbers.  The whole point of being a bookseller is having those half hour conversations of "Have you read this? it's amazing!" with customers.

 

There's nothing better than having a customer come to you with a book or series you enthusiastically recommended and saying it was wonderful. You've made a reader friend, and they'll certainly come back and buy more simply becasue they had a great experience and they've got an entirely new series to dive into that they otherwise would never have found.

 

You just can't replicate that online or through a "related titles" graphic.

 

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keriflur
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Re: Nook placement in stores


TriscuitCracker wrote:

If Len Riggio ends up buying the company back excluding Nook I'd like to believe he'll improve the bookstore experience with more stock and more titles. Go back to the basics.  I think we should get rid of the tablets all together and just sell e-readers and try to put the Nook App on as many devices as possible. Also include a 5% off all ebooks if you buy a Membership.  I miss the days when it was all about bookselling and now it's all about the sales and bn membership numbers.  The whole point of being a bookseller is having those half hour conversations of "Have you read this? it's amazing!" with customers.

 

There's nothing better than having a customer come to you with a book or series you enthusiastically recommended and saying it was wonderful. You've made a reader friend, and they'll certainly come back and buy more simply becasue they had a great experience and they've got an entirely new series to dive into that they otherwise would never have found.

 

You just can't replicate that online or through a "related titles" graphic.

 


I completely support all of this and would give more than 3 kudos if I could.

flyingtoastr
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Re: Nook placement in stores

This forum is really starting to make me believe that economics courses should be mandated in High School...

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keriflur
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Re: Nook placement in stores


flyingtoastr wrote:

This forum is really starting to make me believe that economics courses should be mandated in High School...


Youd be amazed what economic analysis actually shows.  When you pull a board of directors out and actually look at long term growth and customer trends, I suspect you'll find that having bookstores be bookstores is actually more profitable than making a halfway effort to be Target.  There is a lot of historical evidence toward core competency as the path to success.

 

And I didn't take econ in high school.  I majored in it in college.

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RHWright
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Re: Nook placement in stores

@TriscuitCracker: I agree with some of your ideals, but ...

 

get rid of the tablets all together and just sell e-readers

 

I, and many people, prefer a dedicated eInk reader. Still, the market (at least today), seems to prefer the multi-use tablet and smart phone platforms. So it probably isn't a good idea to ditch tablets altogether.

 

try to put the Nook App on as many devices as possible

 

This might be a viable alternative to making/marketing their own hardware in the long run, if they can get more exclusive pre-installed deals with manufacturers/carriers. My Android phone came pre-installed with the Kindle app. Similar deals (especially, say, on Windows tablets & phones) might be an alternative strategy for NOOK on the tablet side.

 

Also include a 5% off all ebooks if you buy a Membership

 

One, I don't see that happening. B&N's history has generally been to reduce net benefits, not expand them. If they gave 5% here, they'd end up taking that value out of the program somewhere else. Two, you seem to decry the focus on membership sales later on, so why promote it here?

 

I miss the days when it was all about bookselling and now it's all about the sales and bn membership numbers.  The whole point of being a bookseller is having those half hour conversations of "Have you read this? it's amazing!" with customers.

 

It's always been about sales. I think there has been a gradual disproportionate emphasis on membership and other add-on sales, as this is higher margin easy money. One of the most enjoyable parts of being a bookseller are those deep conversations, but that's certainly not the whole point. It's a job. There's work to be done. Shipment to unload, shelves to stock, re-shelves to do, messes to clean up, returns to pull & pack, sales to ring, etc. And, one would hope, more than 16 customers to help in an 8 hour shift.

 

Yes, B&N and many companies have lost sight of "old fashioned" customer service, where relationships are built, loyalty earned, and years of sales made. But a part of that is market changes. People don't always want that level of service anymore. In, out, do you have this book I already know I want. Done. But I feel you. Too little time seems to be spent, or even allowed, in B&N stores for dedicated service for customers who want it and would spend real $$ if they can get it.

 

On the flip side. I've seen plenty of booksellers waste time conversing with customers and not do anything to build that relationship and, oh, sell them something. They seem willfully oblivious to the fact that some people just want to talk and seek out anyone (retail employees included) to jaw with.

 

There's nothing better than having a customer come to you with a book or series you enthusiastically recommended and saying it was wonderful. You've made a reader friend, and they'll certainly come back and buy more simply becasue they had a great experience and they've got an entirely new series to dive into that they otherwise would never have found.

 

Agreed. But I find most booksellers woefully under-read in general, even if they may have a genre or two they could go in-depth in. This is symptomatic to the culture at large, and not just how stores train them and allow them to operate.

 

You just can't replicate that online or through a "related titles" graphic.

 

I used to feel that way to. But the algorithms on Amazon and Goodread have started to get really close. :smileyvery-happy:

 

Take my opinion for what it's worth—just that, an opinion. Know that it's informed by extensive experience in bookselling with both B&N and Borders, as bookseller, lead, trainer, and manager (with various responsibilities/rotations/departments). All told, I have almost 15 years of bookstore experience.

 

I would love to see B&N be able to go back to "old fashioned" bookselling and a focus on their traditional core. But I don't think the market wants that.

 

B&N (and Borders, in its day) seem to lag behind market trends. They tend to be over-conservative. Both in adopting new ideas and dropping ones that no longer make sense.

 

I don't think stripping it to just the basics is the answer. But getting out ahead and being seen as the leader again will take some careful consideration of what of that core still appeals to their market and where innovations need to be made.

 

I think a good step would be pulling the plug on a dedicated music/DVD department. They generally can't compete on price. And they've cut way back on the depth/breadth of selection, which was kind of their selling point.

 

They need to build a better integration of stores and mobile/online. They need to maximize on the advantages being a b&m store provides and not let the real estate costs suck them down. No joke, B&N has a major investment in square footage and needs to find ways to maximize revenue per sq. ft. I think they have made some strides and many misfires in that regard with too much of an emphasis on the quick, easy, add-on sale.

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keriflur
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Re: Nook placement in stores

I live in a part of the country with a lot of indie bookstores.  The booksellers at indies are generally well-read in their areas of interest (and across the bookstore, every area is covered).  There's no reason B&N could not have the same - but they need to treat their employees like valuable salespeople, not clerks, and offer them what they're worth.

 

One of our B&N's here closed down about a year and a half ago, and from the dwindling stock at another, I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see that one go too.  When I look at the experience of shopping at an indie versus shopping at B&N, I'm not surprised they're struggling.  And the thing is - that indie experience is the same experience I remember having at B&N 15 years ago.

 

There's a funny thing that happens when a business forgets the importance of the customer experience - the customers start to forget about the business.

flyingtoastr
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Re: Nook placement in stores

How much square footage are those indies?

 

I'm willing to bet its a whole lot smaller than your local BN's (with comparably smaller rent, payroll, stock, utilities, backend, etc. costs), which is why they can afford to stock mainly books. You can't run a 50000 square foot store with 50-60 employees solely on a market in secular decline with 10% margins. The math simply doesn't work.

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keriflur
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Re: Nook placement in stores


flyingtoastr wrote:

How much square footage are those indies?

 

I'm willing to bet its a whole lot smaller than your local BN's (with comparably smaller rent, payroll, stock, utilities, backend, etc. costs), which is why they can afford to stock mainly books. You can't run a 50000 square foot store with 50-60 employees solely on a market in secular decline with 10% margins. The math simply doesn't work.


Actually, two that I know of that are doing very well are Elliott Bay Bookstore and Powell's downtown store.  Powell's is bigger than any B&N I've ever been to, with the possible exception of the B&N on Union Square in NYC, and Elliott Bay is bigger than both of my remaining local B&Ns.

 

So... what's the math on that?  Maybe that good customer service and a relationship with the neighborhood sell books?  Maybe that discount isn't the way to go in this market?  Or maybe it's simply that if you want good numbers, you need to think about more than just numbers.

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bobstro
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Re: Nook placement in stores

Powell's is amazing, or at least it was last time I was able to visit. I have no idea how they're doing these days financially, but it was definitely a reader's heaven. I get their mailings regularly, and their online site looks impressive enough.  I think it's a mistake to think that only the big-box stores can deliver a "big" experience.

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TriscuitCracker
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎02-27-2013

Re: Nook placement in stores

[ Edited ]

-RHWRIGHT

 

I do agree with your points, and yes you are right it HAS always been about sales, what with readership declining as a whole and the economy the way it is, sales seem to matter so much more because they DO, the company is fighting for its very survival. I have 10 years experience myself.  All the stores in my state are lowering their DVD/music selection or eliminating the sections alltogether, ironically a few of them got rid of their DVD sections a few years ago to make room for Nook kiosks. And the reason I suggested 5% on ebooks (which I know will never happen there's little enough profit margin on ebooks as it is plus I suspect publishers wouldn't allow it) was because it would be a way to differentiate it from Kindle and IBook ebook prices. Give people a reason to go to our stores and our digital library over a competitor. We in the last few years have done very well in Toys and Games from a sales standpoint.  Lately the worst move that's been done out of necessity is that BN is no longer giving health insurance to part time booksellers. The problem with this is that many veteran booksellers left and we just have many part timers who don't ever work long enough to get a real feel for selling books before moving on to their next job, which makes for poorer customer service and ultimately, lost sales.

 

 

And I am an idealist at heart though. :smileyhappy: The company can make it. Just have to change and adapt best we can.

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Ya_Ya
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Re: Nook placement in stores


keriflur wrote:

  Or maybe it's simply that if you want good numbers, you need to think about more than just numbers.


It's definitely not just bookstores that make this mistake.  I have intimate knowledge of a very large national retailer who spends far too much time managin numbers and paper and not enough managing staff and encouraging customer service...  I doubt B&N and unnamed are alone, too.