14 Replies Latest reply on Aug 8, 2015 6:32 AM by nlstein
      • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

        If this topic interests you, then FYI:

        I've cross-posted below my two cents from the above-mentioned MobileRead discussion:


        I agree with much that's already been posted above. What I haven't seen mentioned, though, is BN's squandering of its competitive advantage as one of the largest textbook providers in the USA by (IMO) mismanaging its e-textbook platforms, NOOKStudy (introduced in August 2010) and Yuzu (introduced in April 2014):

        • NOOKStudy and Yuzu are not usable on NOOK and other e-reader devices (they were designed for use only on PCs, Macs, and iPads) - which lets Amazon.com and other sellers/rentors of etexts eat B&N's breakfast, lunch, and dinner
        • Yuzu not only does not share the same accounts as the Nook Store or NookStudy, it is also incompatible with NookStudy textbooks. Therefore, as Emily Price at Engadget observed: "With Yuzu, [NOOKStudy]'s being phased out, and sadly any pricey books you've already bought through that service are incompatible with the new app."


        This song's title expresses my reaction to many of the NOOK Division's missteps, most especially those since 2011:


        • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

          The moment B&N decided not to implement shelves on new Nooks (ie, other than the Nook 1st Edition).  I don't have enough e-Books to need or even want shelves, but the aforementioned decision was an astounding mixture of arrogance, incompetence, and stupidity, that I think explains the whole decline.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

              Not to mention that within days or weeks of the Nook ST coming out (without shelves and some other features that the previous version had) this forum was packed with people complaining and asking for an upgraded OS.  Not once did anyone from B&N come on and recognize that its customers had legitimate concerns, and they never did make any effort to do any upgrades or respond to their customer base.  Basically the ST was sold as a "here it is and here it will stay".


              I still use my STGL because it works and I like to read on it, but when it finally quits I doubt that I will even consider any B&N product to replace it.  Assuming they have anything worthwhile anyway.

            • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

              Not having a useable shelving system was certainly a problem. I think the moment it became more obvious that B&N was in trouble was with the release of the HD. They had little advertising for it, and then they basically had a fire sale shortly thereafter, which I think made people think they weren't going to be a major player anymore.

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              • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

                An interesting financial article this morning: Keurig is crashing - Yahoo Finance


                It seems the Keurig single-cup coffee brewers were quite popular until management decided to come out with the Keurig 2.0.  Not only would it no longer accept third-party cups, or the ones you fill yourself.  It would no longer even accept the cups you bought last week for the earlier model of brewer.


                Sales have dropped and the stock is tanking.


                Does this marketing strategy remind you in any way of anyone we know?

                • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

                  I'd mark it at late 2010, about one year after the initial release. Gosh, the year 2010 was an exciting one in NOOK-land. We had read-in-store, we had coupons for free cookies at B&N Cafe, we had the summer giveaway of real titles from major authors, we had the giveaways of over 100 annotated/commented Sterling Classics ebooks, we had Free Fridays offerings from established publishers including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Zondervan, Baker, Dorchester, and Kensington. We had Fictionwise/eReader.com with their BuyWise program and Micropay rebates. We had borrowing of library ebooks which Kindle didn't have; some people had library cards from dozens of library systems across the country so that they could borrow ebooks sooner. We had the ability to lend most ebooks and Kindle didn't. We had NOOK get-togethers at B&N stores.


                  Not that everything was wonderful that year. April brought us the Agency model with its Required Ebook Pricing, and with it the end of the Fictionwise BuyWise program (Fictionwise/eReader.com also lost all of the Big-6 publisher ebook titles, as did all of the other ebook stores that weren't giants). A couple of months later, Fictionwise ended their Micropay rebates. The 1.3 firmware for the original NOOK came out in April, and it totally broke Wi-Fi access on routers using WEP encryption with shared keys. B&N never did fix that, and the NOOK Wi-Fi that came out in June had the same limitation. Almost nobody uses WEP any more so it's not a big deal now, but back then it was a real problem.


                  By late 2010, it was becoming clear that B&N wasn't listening to its users. They were simply doing as they pleased and we could take it or leave it. Then the NOOK Color came out in November and it was a big hit. That pretty much put the nails in the coffin of us E-Ink NOOK users.


                  The huge number of NOOK Colors being sold also caused the BN.com website to become terribly slow and unreliable. On Christmas Day 2010, BN.com went down hard for a few days under the load. They were still trying to catch up on billing for Christmas-time ebook purchases the following May!


                  With the much, much larger number of NOOKs out there, the freebies started drying up. Also, Kindle started offering ebook lending and most publishers severely restricted lending rights. Read-in-store had quit working in most stores and nobody knew if or when it would ever be fixed. In June of 2011, B&N rolled out the "final" firmware update for the original NOOK, version 1.6, but it proved to be a disaster — the worst misfeature being that it couldn't access an added micro-SD card — and less than two weeks later, the truly final firmware update, 1.7, came out. Library lending of ebooks had become restricted by the publishers imposing outrageous pricing and lending terms, and by libraries being banned from issuing cards outside of their physical territories. Then, in late 2011, Kindle added library borrowing and it was easy-peasy on the Kindle: no Adobe Digital Editions required.


                  Kobo and Kindle both stole a march on NOOK by introducing ebook gifting for the holiday season in 2010. It took another year before B&N had ebook gifting, and even then it didn't work right, so NOOK book gifting went away for a while. If I recall correctly, it wasn't available for Christmas 2012.


                  Also by late 2011, the big excitement over ebooks and ereaders was dying off, and ebook sales had pretty much flattened out. B&N's ebook sales probably weren't helped by their having totally screwed up the BN.com "search" facility so that it couldn't find ebooks. I'd told B&N what the problem was back in June of that year — that they had "FMT=ep" instead of "FMT=EP" (caps) in their search query — but it was almost a year before they got around to fixing it. With the reduced number of ebooks being sold, BN.com was able to stay up and running, with no outages, through the 2011 Christmas season.


                  By the beginning of 2012, NOOK had completely lost its momentum and B&N announced they were looking to sell the NOOK division. By the end of 2012, the stunning failure of NOOK HD made it all too clear that the NOOK brand had lost its charisma. Oh, and Fictionwise/eReader.com got completely shut down by the end of 2012, too.


                  Some might reasonably say that 2011 was the year that NOOK lost it. Me, I say that 2011 was just a continuation of the downward slide that began in late 2010.


                  Here's some truly personal opinion: I think that the color NOOKs (NC, NT, HD/HD+) distracted B&N from getting a proper foothold in the e-book market. Kindle didn't come out with a color model (the Fire) until a year later. I suspect B&N had its eye on e-magazine sales. But again, that's all personal opinion.

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                    • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

                      Excellent rundown of events. If only the Powers-That-Be in the NOOK Division would read and learn from this, as well as from other observant posts on this topic.

                        • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

                          They didn't listen then when they could have dominated the ebook reader market, why would they listen now when they don't appear to care anymore?


                          Although i would suggest (to any of them that may be listening) that it isn't too late.  I believe there is still a market and that Nook is the best option in that market.  I still have friends who have recently realized how convenient it is to have multiple books available to them everywhere they go.


                          How about this proposal?  Publishing houses offer an e-book version for a couple bucks WITH the purchase of the paper copy in addition to the current either/or model.  B&N updates the Nook OS to include all the serious complaints and requests that we and others have posted over the past five years and starts pushing the basic Nook e-reader again.  The price is right and at this point there is no need, in my opinion, for hardware development.  The ST and STGL are outstanding readers in need of a better OS.  With a commitment to support and a decent ad campaign I suspect that sales would take off and Nook would once again dominate the market.  The reality is that e-readers are so much easier to read on than tablets and this just makes sense.


                          OTOH, they may know stuff that we don't.

                            • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

                              I dunno. As you can tell, I've been with NOOK almost from the beginning. But I simply don't see a way to make it work now. NOOK offers nothing that Kindle doesn't, and Kindle offers a lot of things that NOOK doesn't. Add in the generally higher prices for ebooks at B&N, and NOOK is a tough sale indeed.


                              Hardware-wise, I don't know that there's much future. B&N finally did figure out that making Yet Another Android Tablet wasn't a smart move, but really, does cobranding a Samsung accomplish much? The NOOK app runs on all of the Androids (and iPad/iPhone). It doesn't really have any use for a custom device to run on. Some of us still like E-Ink readers, but they're single-purpose devices and will never compete well against tablets/phones.


                              Content-wise, B&N is way behind Amazon and I don't see any way to close the gap. A smaller selection, usually with higher prices, and a generally unpleasant buying experience. They keep changing the BN.com web site, and with each change they break more and more stuff. I'm amazed that B&N management has allowed the BN.com folks to screw up on a regular basis. Even if management cracked down right now, it'd be a few years before BN.com was a credible alternative to Amazon.


                              For me, the big attraction of NOOK over Kindle back in early 2010 was the absence of the walled garden. But the walls are up now. And if I'm going to deal with a walled garden, there's no question that Kindle's garden is larger and nicer. I do want NOOK to give Kindle some real competition, but at this point I don't see how it can.


                              Consider this article over at The Ebook Reader: Would You Switch to Nook if B&N Gave You a Nook GlowLight for Free. Although a few commenters were positive about NOOK, most were "no thanks." Some of the more negative responses:

                              • I wouldn’t do Business with B&N even if they paid me
                              • I was a huge B&N fan, but no more.
                              • I love my Barnes and Nobel Nook simple touch reader…but I can say I never bought an ebook from B&N.
                              • i will never buy ebooks from them again
                              • [B&N can't compete with Amazon] because of the way they treat their customers.
                              • Both of my Nook readers stopped working... So nope, no thanks.
                              • I feel cheated because I tried harder to support BN than they did to support me!
                              • [On an exchange under warranty, the store manager said] "sorry, we aren’t supposed to do that anymore, not even with the protection plan warranties" ... Now I have a Kobo.
                              • I feel that they are trying to constrict their customers too much, I’ve had screwed-up ebook orders with them in the past, and I just don’t trust the decisions that the company is making at all.
                              • it is like hooking up with your ex. It was good at one time, but there was a reason for leaving in the first place.
                              • the new Glowlight can’t half compare against any old reader.
                              • I just deleted all the books I had on B&N and told them to close my account.
                              • Why should I purchase books for it rather than the easier-to-use Kindle?
                              • with the newer version not having an card slot. I shall not be buying anymore

                              What's worrisome about those responses is that they're not from Kindle fanbois. They're from people who have genuinely used NOOK and found it to be lacking (at least, these days). The article itself, by Nathan, painted a gloomy vision of NOOK:

                              • Most of the problems are of B&N’s own making, like making it so users can no longer download their own purchased ebooks for backup, changing DRM keys, taking away the Nook Cloud Reader with no warning or explanation, partitioning Nook software to only allow a small amount of sideloaded content, suddenly discontinuing international Nook ebookstores, screwing up the Nook customer forums, and plenty of other things to tick off customers.
                              • Nobody really knows if Nook ereaders and Nook ebooks are going to be around for much longer, including the people at B&N.
                              • Nobody at B&N really seems to know what to do with Nook or have any ideas on how to fix the problems.
                              • The fact that [NOOK GL] doesn’t offer any unique features whatsoever, and the fact the hardware is somewhat outdated, I doubt B&N would have much success gaining new customers even if they were giving them away. That’s a big problem.


                              It's very difficult to recover a lost reputation. I don't see any chance that it'll happen with NOOK.

                              2 of 2 people found this helpful
                          • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

                            Something else I just remembered that B&N broke in late 2010: Customer Service.


                            For the first year of its existence, Customer Service was handled out of New Jersey by B&N employees. But with the advent of NOOK Color, B&N moved its NOOK Customer Service to a contract operation in the Philippines. With the New Jersey operation, customer service was great. But the Philippine folks were clueless. They'd apparently been given some basic overview of NOOK and e-book sales, but there was no depth there at all. And most users do try the basic stuff before they give up and call the manufacturer's service line.

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                          • Re: When was the exact moment B&N Nook Started to Decline?

                            While there are many moments that can be pointed to, for me it was when B&N came out with the NOOK GlowLight without any expansion SD.