16 Replies Latest reply on Jun 21, 2014 9:37 PM by seacity1

    Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?

    Sandikal

      I got my first Nook in 2010 when they only had the First Edition with 3G.  I chose it over the Kindle primarily because of the ability to borrow books from my local library and because I could sideload epubs from other sources.  I got a Nook HD for Christmas in 2012.  I have over 500 books in my Nook library.  For my birthday, I wanted a new e-ink reader and asked for a Kindle Paperwhite.  I will continue to use my Nook HD as a tablet and to read the Nook books I haven't read yet, but my future dollars will probably go to Amazon because I'm becoming more and more convinced that B&N doesn't want to be in the e-book market anymore.  I feel really sad about this because the Nook had so much potential that has just gone to waste.  I used to talk to people all the time about how great the Nook was.  I don't even know how often I told people who were looking at them in the B&N stores how wonderful they were and why they should get a Nook instead of a Kindle.

       

      Today was the day that I really realized that B&N doesn't give a damn about selling ebooks.  If you go to Amazon's website, you will find that today's Kindle Daily Deal includes 60 science fiction and fantasy first-in-series books for $1.99 each.  I checked several of them out and they are $1.99 here at B&N also.  B&N isn't promoting them at all.  I don't know if this is a one day deal or an ongoing publisher promotion, but I could only find them by going to the individual books on this website.  Also, a book I've had on my wishlist forever, not that I can even load my wishlist on my Nook, is now $2.99.  It's a Kindle Daily Deal that isn't promoted here either.  When I went to post it in the Best Nookbook Bargains thread, I found that Stephen King's "The Shining" is on sale for $1.99.  It's also not being promoted.

       

      Now, the only reason I can think of for B&N not promoting these great deals is that they don't want to sell ebooks.  I buy a lot of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.  I would have been a perfect marketing target for a directed e-mail or to have a link on my "Your Nook Today" page. (Don't laugh, they really could be doing great things with that.)  At the very least, they could have promoted these deals on the Nook Books webpage.  The first in series sale could have generated a lot of income for them.  They might not make much on $1.99 ebooks, but if people read the first book and get hooked, they will likely pay full price for subsequent installments.  It would have been a win-win.

       

      So, how much longer can B&N stay in the ebook business?

        • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
          keriflur

          So... you got a kindle because B&N isn't promoting items that are discounted? Even though you really like nook?

           

          That doesn't seem like much of a reason. Is there more to the story than that? Maybe other things about Amazon or the kindle that you prefer?

           

          Yeah, lately B&N hasn't done much (if anything) to promote its sales. I've no idea why (maybe they're sending emails that I've opted out of). I'd think they'd at least put the sales on the website. BUT, I'm still not sure why this is bad for you. You go to look for a book you want and it's unexpectedly cheap. What's so horrible about that? And heck, in the situation you described, Amazon is doing the marketing for them - once you know Amazon is having a sale, you can buy at B&N for the same price if you want to.

           

          As for Amazon wanting to sell ebooks, yeah, they do, but not for reasons that help you as a consumer. They want to sell ebooks to gain market share, to be able to run the book business. And their investors are getting impatient with their paper-thin margins, which Amazon will be oh-so-happy to increase just as soon as it gets that monopoly-esque control of the industry.

           

          Every time you shop, whether you realize it or not, you are voting with your wallet. You're saying you want the company you are buying from to stay in business, and to profit, and that you support them. Be sure you want to support Amazon and the kind of company they are.  If you're not sure what kind of company that is, read this thread: http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/NOOK-Talk/More-on-Amazon-s-War-w-Hachette/td-p/1521298/page/4 and do some googling. B&N and Amazon aren't the only players in the ebook business, and both Kobo and Google sell books that can be read on nooks, kobo devices, and tablets. You can also buy kobo books via independent bookstores, which gives those stores a cut of the revenue and helps to keep them in business.  Cast your votes as you wish, but do it with full knowledge that you're voting, and who you're voting for.

          • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
            gb18

            None of the old school really wants to sell ebooks at all, unless they can get their old prices.

              • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                keriflur

                gb18 wrote:

                None of the old school really wants to sell ebooks at all, unless they can get their old prices.


                B&N makes a larger cut per ebook than they do for hardback and PB bestsellers.  That's right, they make more on ebooks.

                  • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                    bobstro

                    keriflur wrote:

                    [...] B&N makes a larger cut per ebook than they do for hardback and PB bestsellers.  That's right, they make more on ebooks.

                     

                    While perhaps not what GB meant, I think this does lend weight to the argument that B&N and many publishers are using ebook sales to subsidize print sales. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it isn't necessarily acting in the interests of ebook consumers.

                     

                    B&N and those same publishers would like to preserve the traditional model as long as possible. I'm sympathetic, but I do hope they're looking at how to evolve and survive more than just artificially putting in obstructionist "friction".

                    • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                      gb18

                      B&N makes a larger cut per ebook than they do for hardback and PB bestsellers.  That's right, they make more on ebooks.

                       

                      Agrees with my point.

                  • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                    Ruff16965

                    Hello,

                     

                    Read this earlier and told myself I wasn't going to say anything, came back and found more crazyness. 

                     

                    Some of you people are so self centered it is not funny. Let me get this right, you are complianing that there are books on sale? Or that your sense of intitlment is offended? Barnes and Noble sells more than ebooks, but since they don't posted sales that you might be interested or send you emails after you opted out of marketing they don't want to sale ebooks. Am I understanding this correctly?

                     

                    Let me tell you all something there are a lot of readers out there and not all like Sci Fi or whatever your must have is. Personally I feel that B&N does a very good job of balacing the interest of every reader.

                     

                    I have been an Amazon customer for years and have never been notified of a sale esides through emails that I allow and subscribe to. I find their homepage annoying, crammed with things I might be interested in because someone else bought it. No thank you.

                      • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                        keriflur

                        Lol, you *might* want to work on your definition of entitlement. No one here is saying they are owed anything (at least not that I can tell), but rather that B&N could do things better. Folks here generally want B&N to stay in business, and the company is not perfect, so critique is part of that.  And just because you feel they are doing a good job doesn't mean that everyone does. 

                      • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                        NookGardener

                        So, am kind of on the fence about this.  On the one hand, have a list of areas where B&N coud do better (marketing, inconsistency of features between apps, and still not sure what improved on the web page this spring.) On the other hand, there have been some improvements (ok, some were needed fixes like the wishlist) but shopping on an HD is a lot better than the original NC. Nook Today with the "based on your interests" is a huge improvement over "Picked Just For You" (that always seemed to pick the oddest free book you downloaded on a whim to base recommendations off of.)  And "more like these" actually includes other books by the same author..

                         

                        Here's my question to you all, if books arent a generic commodity (ie you cant substitute author A for author B, and you cant substitute book 3 or 4 for book 2 in a series) how much does a book being on "sale" really influence what you choose to purchase/read?  Being on sale is a great way to introduce readers to new authors or maybe influence you to buy something you were on the fence about (got at least a half dozen on my to be read shelf from the latter category.)  To me, its more like the bargain area of the  store; you always cruise the aisles before going to the checkout counter.  Sometimes you end up with another stack of books and sometimes you leave empty handed. 

                         

                        So how do you choose what books to buy/read? Bestseller lists, bookclubs, friends recommendations?  

                         

                        Thoughts?

                          • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                            flyingtoastr

                            NookGardener wrote:

                             still not sure what improved on the web page this spring.


                            Husseby gave an interview after the announcement of the Samsung thingy and said that the new website launch was delayed but coming along soon.

                            • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                              kamas716

                              NookGardener wrote:

                              So how do you choose what books to buy/read? Bestseller lists, bookclubs, friends recommendations?  

                               

                              Thoughts?


                              Friend recommendations have always been a huge point for me.  But, otherwise it's usually reading the blurb to see what the book is about and other books by the same/similar authors.

                               

                              As for the sales, if it's something in a series I'm reading, even if it's several books down the line from where I am, I'll pick it up.  Same if the blurb looks interesting (especially if it's by an author I like).  I rarely just pick something up and buy it without knowing anything about the book/author.

                              • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                                keriflur

                                NookGardener wrote:
                                Here's my question to you all, if books arent a generic commodity (ie you cant substitute author A for author B, and you cant substitute book 3 or 4 for book 2 in a series) how much does a book being on "sale" really influence what you choose to purchase/read?

                                If there's a sale going on, and I'm not terribly busy with other things, I might scroll through and see if any of the books I've wanted to read are on sale. This past winter B&N did a sale on pre-orders, so I pre-ordered a couple of books that I was going to buy anyway. Also, I'm behind in a number of series, and for some of the series I don't have the latest books.  If B&N puts them on sale, I'm more likely to buy them (I'll eventually buy them anyway, but I might not buy them from B&N, if they're not the cheapest when I decide to buy).

                                 

                                So, I guess sales rarely influence WHAT I buy, but they do influence when I buy and who I buy from.

                                 


                                NookGardener wrote:
                                So how do you choose what books to buy/read? Bestseller lists, bookclubs, friends recommendations?

                                Twitter and Goodreads, though not necessarily how you'd think.

                                I have a rather large selection of authors that I follow on twitter.  Some of these are my favorite authors, and some of them are folks who just say a lot of really great stuff on twitter (that I've found through my favorite authors).  If an author seems really cool on twitter, I'll look up their books on Goodreads, and maybe buy one that seems interesting to me. And of course I buy all my favorite authors' books, and those authors often talk about what they're reading or books they've loved, so I look up those books on Goodreads too. I also follow agents, editors, and librarians that all talk about books. If two or three folks mention the same book in a really positive way, I'll usually check it out.

                                 

                                I filter everything through Goodreads, to see what folks aren't liking about the book (there are ALWAYS folks griping about something), and to read the cover copy, and then buy the stuff I think I'll like.  I wishlist the stuff I'm not sure about and the ones that aren't out yet (It's not terribly uncommon for my twitter feed to erupt in love for a book that won't be out for 6 months).

                                 

                                I don't buy as much as I used to though, since I own over 350 unread books.  Of those, there are probably about 50 I'm not super excited about, which means I've got 300(!) that I really want to read.

                                • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                                  Byteguy

                                  NookGardener wrote:

                                  ...

                                   

                                  Here's my question to you all, if books arent a generic commodity (ie you cant substitute author A for author B, and you cant substitute book 3 or 4 for book 2 in a series) how much does a book being on "sale" really influence what you choose to purchase/read?

                                  ...


                                  Lately, being on sale is a HUGE factor for me.

                                   

                                  I signed up for the BookBub daily email and try to remember to check B&N's Daily Find.

                                   

                                  I'm willing to drop $0.99 (or, even better $0.00) on a book if it sounds reasonably interesting and some of those have led to me buying more from that author/series.

                                   

                                  Also, I've been listening to free SYNC YA Audiobooks and they've led me to some interesting authors.

                                   

                                  Sadly, there aren't enough bookstores around me anymore and I don't have the time to get there to browse and buy like I used to.

                                    • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                                      MacMcK1957

                                      At any given time, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of books I would like to read.  So if I see a book on sale, and it's an author I like, or part of a series I like, or I've heard interesting things about it, I'll buy it.  To the point where I have a few dozen backed up on my Nook, most of them bought at a discount.

                                       

                                      No, books are not interchangeable, but that doesn't mean that a sale can't influence you to pick one over another.

                                    • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?
                                      RHWright

                                      NookGardener wrote:

                                      Here's my question to you all, if books arent a generic commodity (ie you cant substitute author A for author B, and you cant substitute book 3 or 4 for book 2 in a series) how much does a book being on "sale" really influence what you choose to purchase/read?  Being on sale is a great way to introduce readers to new authors or maybe influence you to buy something you were on the fence about (got at least a half dozen on my to be read shelf from the latter category.)  To me, its more like the bargain area of the  store; you always cruise the aisles before going to the checkout counter.  Sometimes you end up with another stack of books and sometimes you leave empty handed. 

                                       

                                      So how do you choose what books to buy/read? Bestseller lists, bookclubs, friends recommendations?  

                                       

                                      Thoughts?


                                      If I really want a book, price is not much of a factor. Though, I will sometimes wait to see if it goes on sale.

                                       

                                      Where price becomes a bigger factor is when I want something to read, but not necessarily a particular book (e.g. I'm not looking for the next in a series). Then, I'll go to my wishlist, see what's on sale of that set, maybe look at the general sales on the site, and see what I feel like.

                                       

                                      How stuff ends up on my wishlist: never really scan the bestsellers, more recommendations of friends, interesting books I read about or hear about (say, on NPR), recommendations on goodreads, both the automatic ones and from friends and discussion groups.

                                       

                                      A good sale can tip me over from the "maybe" or "maybe, someday" category into "grab it now." Put something on a short term $2.99 sale, and I will give it much more consideration than when it was sitting there at $7.99+.

                                      • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?

                                        NookGardener wrote:

                                        Here's my question to you all, if books arent a generic commodity (ie you cant substitute author A for author B, and you cant substitute book 3 or 4 for book 2 in a series) how much does a book being on "sale" really influence what you choose to purchase/read? 


                                        Mostly if it was something I was going to buy but was waiting for the price to come down on first. And that's over the past few years when I've been getting class at a time teaching ~ if my full time position in China comes through, I'll not think twice about buying a Nook book at the "can't wait to have it premium price" on day of release.

                                         

                                        Heck, when I was working in Australia, I didn't bat an eye at paying A$20 for a paperback, if it was an author I liked or a series I was following.

                                         

                                          • Re: Does Barnes & Noble Really Want to Sell E-Books?

                                            I've been a BN customer since they have been in business & have owned all of their hardware at one point or another. My professional life has been spent in marketing & I have always felt that in that area they have been behind the 8 Ball for a very long time. The lack of a large advertising budget has been used as a partial excuse for the lack of sucess on the hardware side but they don't even use the tools they have at hand to any real advantage. For instance the "Your Nook Today" page on the device is an utter waste of what could be an excellent way to directly market to the user. Also, although I am a long time customer & have signed up to get email marketing notifications at least 3 times - I have yet to get so much as a notification of a "Daily Deal." The only email I get from BN is when I buy a book. On the other hand, I get emails from Amazon daily about new Kinde offerings & the only thing I have ever purchased was a free book.

                                             

                                            I'm noticed the same thing with regard to the lack of competitive promotions. You can't buy something if you are not made aware of it. Even if BN has an identical promotion they often do nothing to inform the customer. However, in general, if you were shopping for ebooks by price alone, BN would lose every time. People have to be given a reason to pay a premium price for the same product, such as excellent customer service. BN does not fare well in that area either & their attitude seems to be "the customer is always wrong." With regard to CS the biggest plus has always been the in-store support which is great & one of the reasons I have continued to buy their hardware.

                                             

                                            I don't know if Samsung pumping more money into advertising will do much to fix these issues. It's not so much how much money you have in your marketing budget. It's what you do with it & if the marketing promise made in advertising is supported by the company's infrastructure in service & support.

                                             

                                            I do not know if I will buy another Nook. I am sure the hardware will be fine (albeit over-priced since Samsung is notorius for over pricing). What gives me concern is that BN will still be handling CS & the marketing side may continue to be as lame as in the past, As to the price of ebooks that will probably not change either. Even now, due to price, I am buying more of my books from other vendors.then I do BN. If the in store support is taken away the Nook HD+ will probably be my last BN tablet purchase.