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Archive for the ‘BARNES & NOBLE’ Category

B&N to Launch the Nook in Nine New Countries

The news this morning that Kobo had hired a new director for EMEA reminded me about some expansion plans from one of their competition. Those plans aren’t going so well.

Way back in June 2012 Barnes & Noble set an ambitious goal. Over the following 12 months, they planned to launch the Nook Store in no less than 10 international markets. It’s now 7 months later, so let’s look at what they’ve accomplished.

In late September 2012, Barnes & Noble launched the Nook Store in the UK. This was a solo launch with no local partner. B&N had been rumored in late 2011 to be courting Waterstones but that bookseller chain ended up signing with Amazon to carry the Kindle. External details of the deal suggest that Amazon outbid B&N not because Amazon wanted a local partner but to keep B&N from gaining a local partner in the UK market.

And since September B&N has launched the Nook in exactly … zero markets.

There are rumors of plans to launch the Nook in a variety of markets including Russia, Netherlands, Germany, and elsewhere (I think Brazil is a possibility), but no firm evidence has been uncovered nor has B&N made any announcements.

It’s now late January 2013, and that means Barnes & Noble has only 5 months left until their self-appointed deadline. I’m not sure that they’re going to make it.

I’m not trying to be hostile here, but launching 9 local bookstores is a massive undertaking any way you look at it: logistical, technical, or organizational. It took B&N nearly a year after the first hints about partnering with Waterstones before they launched the Nook in the UK. And even then it was delayed a couple times due to technical issues.

I’m not convinced that B&N has the ability to pull off 9 nearly simultaneous launches in the next 5 months. Sure, they might decide to wait until BEA 2013 comes around in May and announce the markets they will be launching in, but actually getting the local Nook Stores is probably out of the question.

And given the way B&N is hemorrhaging money in the Nook Media and seeing poor retail sales, I’m not sure they can survive a significant delay in their international expansion plans.

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Barnes & Noble Nook HD vs. Amazon Kindle Fire HD: Specs Compared

Several weeks after Amazon took the wraps off its Kindle Fire HD lineup, Barnes & Noble did the same this morning with two new HD Nook tablets of its own.

The Nook HD joins the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7 in the 7-inch tablet game. But which is best? In our hands on with the Nook HD, PCMag found that it might have “the best screen on a 7-inch tablet to date.” The Nook HD boasts a 1,440-by-900 display compared to the Kindle Fire HD’s 1,280-by-800 screen. But for $199, you get 8GB on the Nook HD and 16GB on the Fire HD. You can bump up to 16GB on the Nook HD for $229 (a 32GB Fire HD is $249).

The Kindle Fire HD is slightly heavier than the Nook HD at 13.9 oz compared to 11.1 oz, but they’re virtually identical in size. Both run a customized version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and TI OMAP chips, but the Fire HD sports a 1.2-GHz OMAP 4460 to the Nook HD’s 1.3-GHz OMAP 4470.

Kindle Fire HD vs. Nook HD

Both include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support; the Nook HD will connect for free in all Barnes & Noble stores. If you’re looking for a camera, the Fire HD has a front-facing one, but you won’t find a camera on the Nook HD.

Content will likely be a major consideration. The Kindle HD taps into the Amazon Appstore and its approximately 50,000 apps. The Nook provides access to Nook Apps, which has about 6,000 apps. The Kindle can also access Amazon’s video services, but B&N announced that it will soon launch Nook Video, which will serve up similar content.

Barnes & Noble launches new Nook HD

Barnes & Noble is rolling out two new versions of its Nook tablet with sleek new hardware and a sharper high-definition screen. The bookseller’s move heightens the already intense tablet wars heading into the holiday season.

NEW YORK —

Barnes & Noble is rolling out two new versions of its Nook tablet with sleek new hardware and a sharper high-definition screen. The bookseller’s move heightens the already intense tablet wars heading into the holiday season.

Barnes & Noble said Wednesday that its new Nook HD will come in two sizes, one with a 7-inch screen (measured diagonally), starting at $199, and one with a new 9-inch diagonal screen, called the Nook HD+, starting at $269.

In addition to the new HD screen and a lighter body, Barnes & Noble is also increasing the services the Nook offers, adding a video purchase and rental service, allowing users to maintain different “profiles” and making it easier to browse titles in its book and magazine stores.

New York-based Barnes & Noble, the largest traditional U.S. bookseller, has invested heavily in its Nook e-reader and e-books. In its most recent fiscal quarter, sales of digital content surged 46 percent, but revenue from devices dropped partly due to lower prices. Nook prices in the May-July period were about 23 percent lower than a year ago.

The company is seeking to offset tough competition from online retailers such as Amazon.com, as consumers increasingly move away from traditional books and DVDs to electronic books and streaming video.

The Nook HD is an upgrade to the hardware and services offered by its previous tablets, the Nook Tablet and Nook Color, which Barnes & Noble is phasing out. The company will continue to sell its smaller black-and-white e-reader, called the Nook Simple Touch, for $99, and a backlit Nook Simple Touch for $139. The Nook HD runs on Google’s Android 4.0 system and includes Barnes & Noble’s own app store and browser.

Tablets are -once again- expected to be hot items this holiday. The new Nooks come on the heels of Amazon.com’s announcement earlier this month that it will offer four new varieties of its Kindle, including a high definition version of its Kindle Fire tablet with an 8.9-inch diagonal screen, which starts at $299. That compares with Apple Inc.’s iPad with a 9.7-inch diagonal screen and $499 starting price.

Apple’s iPad is the most popular tablet, and that is not expected to change. Seven out of every 10 tablets sold in the second quarter were iPads, according to IHS iSuppli. Meanwhile Amazon.com has a 4.2 percent share of the tablet market, while Barnes & Noble has a 1.9 percent share, according to iSuppli.

Even so, the category is growing rapidly. An estimated 112.5 million Americans, one-third of U.S. adults, are expected to have tablets by 2016, according to Forrester Research.

And tablet makers are jockeying to gain share on Apple. On specs alone, the new Nook presents a tough choice for consumers seeking a cheap option to the iPad this holiday, analysts say. The 7-inch Nook HD is slightly lighter and narrower, with a sharper display than the similarly priced 7-inch Kindle Fire.

“If the decision the consumer is making is whether to buy based on hardware, these new Nooks will beat out Amazon,” said Forrester analyst James McQuivey. “But that’s not the decision every consumer is going to make – hardware is only as good as the services the hardware enables.”

So far, Amazon offers more services, McQuivey said, with a bigger app store, and more extensive video library, not to mention Amazon’s vast product offerings and its Amazon Prime free-shipping service.

In an attempt to measure up, Barnes & Noble is launching a video service this fall that lets users buy and watch movies and TV shows on their mobile devices and televisions. The offerings will come from major studios including HBO, Sony Pictures, Viacom and Warner Brothers. Scrapbook and catalog browsing features have also been added.

One wild card working in Barnes & Noble’s favor this holiday: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target, increasingly threatened by Amazon’s online retail operations, won’t carry the Kindle. The retailers will sell Barnes & Noble’s Nooks, as well as other tablets like the iPad.

“This is going to be a lot of fun to watch over the next year,” McQuivey said.

The new Nooks are available for pre-order online and in stores beginning on Wednesday and will begin shipping in late October and begin arriving in stores in early November.

John Lewis to start selling Nook eBook readers from October

UK high street retailer John Lewis is to be the first store to officially stock Barnes & Noble Nook eBook readers on these shores. The chain will sell the devices from October, both in-store and online.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook eBook readers have long been a credible alternative to Amazon’s Kindle devices in the US, but until now, only Sony has successfully rivalled the Kindle’s grip on the UK market. That’s to change, however, with the launch of the Simple Touch and Simple Touch with Glowlight.

As Pocket-lint revealed earlier this month, Barnes & Noble has been looking to get into the UK for a while, and it is hoping that its partnership with “the UK’s leading electrical retailer” will allow it to break Amazon’s dominance.

“John Lewis is where knowledgeable customers turn for trusted advice on the best products to purchase, and they are a perfect partner to help launch Nook in the UK,” said Jamie Iannone, president of digital products at Barnes & Noble.

“We look forward to bringing more choice and convenience to discerning UK customers with our critically acclaimed line of reading devices and expansive selection of content.”

The deal includes the aforementioned two touchscreen devices, with future products potentially being added to John Lewis stores as available. There’s currently no word on whether the Nook Color will be stocked, although UK buyers will be able to pruchase one of the tablet devices through the soon-to-be-launched Nook.co.uk website.

Content will also be available on the new site, but it is likely that media purchases will be available through the existing American service, at least initially. As the company says, there is plenty of UK-centric content available already. “Both lightweight devices feature built-in access via Wi-Fi to Barnes & Noble’s digital catalogue of more than 2.5 million digital titles – including top-selling UK books, newspapers and magazines – plus comics, exciting Nook Apps and more,” it says.

Pricing is to be revealed nearer launch, but with the Nook Simple Touch currently retailing at $99 in the US, we’s expect that it would cost less than the Kindle Touch over here, which is priced at £109 at present.

 

Can Barnes & Noble shake the dominant hold Amazon has on the eBook reader market in the UK? Let us know in the comments below…