Posts Tagged ‘Nook’

Barnes and Noble has a new Nook

August 25, 2014

This morning Barnes and Noble debuted their new Nook, which is apparently just a Samsung Galaxy Tab4 with a custom interface. The tech isn’t something that really interests me. How powerful does a tablet need to be to read text? I can’t believe it’s too hardware intensive. Instead, I like that B&N is just pairing up with a company and ditching making their own readers/tablets. I think it’s a losing proposition that dumps money into something that has too many players, and in the case of e-readers a sole function device that is going to go the way of the ipod.

Instead of focusing on hardware, this puts the focus on what Barnes and Noble needs to be focused on- their experience of buying and reading a book. On consuming media.

Which makes a ton of sense. It’s really the purest way of transferring the experience of their store to the digital world because when any of us go to Barnes and Noble we do not walk to something, grab it, and head directly for counter. Instead, we browse. We leaf through some magazines over by the wracks, we dawdle through the clearance racks, we read a handful of pages from a handful of books, as we make our way through the store and eventually into the cafe where we have an overpriced coffee and overly caloric piece of carrot cake.

If Barnes and Noble will agree to occasionally ship me complimentary pieces of cake with my orders, I will be getting in line for my galaxy tab.

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Barnes and Noble Holiday Sales

January 15, 2014

Barnes and Noble’s holiday sales were a mixed bag. The sales at their actual stores were pretty similar to last year (fell .2%), but nook devices fell through the floor. This isn’t surprising since they’ve quit putting out new Nooks. Given the choice between an old Nook or a new whatever, it’s not surprising that people took the whatevers. I thought the meat of the article was the last paragraph, where Huseby (CEO of B&N) made a comment that digital content was the “lifeblood of digital business” and that the company was busy making progress in linking their content through other devices – in other words, apps.  the first quote is obvious, your print content isn’t going to be the lifeblood of digital business, but it seems important that he didn’t say it was the lifeblood of Barnes and Noble. It also seems as if B&N is committing to the push away from the hardware side and pushing harder into the software end. they realized that they don’t need a device of their own, if people with ipads, surfaces, notes, etc. can and do click on their apps to buy their books through their store.

Also, I have to think it’s a helluva lot cheaper to make a really good app and then plough extra money into the company. Also, as I’ve linked to before on here, digital sales of stagnated a bit. They roared up for a few years, eating up a chunk of book purchases, but it hasn’t continued its rapid ascent this year. Is this temporary or is there just that much of a desire for printed copy that we’ll see this hold for several years? I don’t know, but it means B&N can probably do very well if they work on maximizing their profits at their brick and mortar stores, while laying a better infrastructure for a strong digital presence in the future. I think B&N has this distinct advantage over Amazon. There have been countless articles about people wandering through bookstores, browsing at the books, only to leave and buy it cheaper from Amazon once they’ve read a few pages and know they like it. there is no reason this couldn’t work to B&N’s advantage. Make it easy to walk through a store, find a book you like, then purchase the digital edition. People could do it now through their phones or whatever without leaving the store.  Find a way to encourage this and make it easier.

So, the sales numbers were a bit of a mixed bag, depending on how you look at them. While the Nook devices took a beating, in a world where I can go and grab a $50 tablet from Meijer, I think getting out of the hardware side where profit margins are shrinking and competition is growing is a good idea. Put your limited funds to better use elsewhere.

Book Links 7-15-13

July 15, 2013

And then there were five.  I’m not a huge fan of consolidation, though I also get that it could all work out. I routinely hate on the consolidation of newspapers, radio,  and all things telecom. It destroys the variety of our windows unto the world, but things like the publishing industry can be different. The different houses coming under ever larger umbrellas can still maintain an identity, which is really how the different imprints  should be defining their necessity. In an ideal world an imprint would justify its existence by being known for something, and consistently delivering it. Whether that will actually happen or not is anybody’s guess. They might also become homogenized, neutered of their individuality to become just a rubber stamp on a cover, promoting some larger vanilla image. For now, though, I have cautious faith.

David Carr has a nice article up about the necessity of Barnes and Noble. It begins promisingly, building a case for the necessity of a physical bookstore as a foundational place of gathering for a community. People go, they look, they talk. It’s healthy and good. He briefly hits on the need for multiple sources of distribution needed for the health of the publishing industry and how Amazon is arguably more of a monopolist and price fixer than Apple could yet dream of being. However,  for me much of the article boils down to the physical bookstore being a necessity because people need to go and browse to discover writers to buy from cheaper online market places.  This ties back into the whole “multiple paths are necessary” thing because ebook sales fell after Borders was shuttered.  I know it’s not the point Carr wanted to drive home, but it’s the one that hung in the air when I was done, and I have to admit it’s at least partly true. While it would be another article entirely, someone other than Nick Harkaway needs to get on a platform and start arguing that the publishing industry needs to do more to take back their industry. Of course, that’s kind of hard when the government then immediately takes them to court to shift business back into Amazon’s hands… .

In case you missed it, JK Rowling released a book under a pen name. I haven’t read the book, I don’t know if I ever will, but I don’t see what the big deal is. And I don’t like the fact that someone cowardly outed her. It wasn’t hurting anyone, and if it gives her the freedom to crank out books that are good, all the power to her.  Now, every “Galbraith” novel she might write will be looked at as a “Rowling” book and carry that baggage with it.

And yet another NYT article about Barnes and Noble and their failing Nook division. I like the Nook tablet, I’ve been considering getting one since they’ve slashed prices, and I think it’s horrible that it’s dying in such a manner. From what I’ve toyed around with, I enjoy it, and I think it’s a quality little piece of hardware. I still support publishing just having a general, all-platform format for ebooks to level the digital playing field a bit, but if you have to support one ecosystem over another, there is no way I could stomach siding with Amazon. Unfortunately, it appears too many people could stomach that particular meal.

Alright, there’s my links for the day. It’s been awhile, but I’ve been busy and I haven’t really been able to find a lot of news I really cared about. But the Apple trial and the health of B&N are two biggies for me and they’ve been in the spotlight recently. Hopefully this is the beginning of getting back on the blogging track.

Book Links 5-9-13

May 9, 2013

Stuck in an elevator with Rushdie (and a host of of other interesting people)

Barnes & Noble is considering selling Nook to Microsoft. I think this is B&N getting ahead of the curve here, actually.  It’d be nice if they could keep getting some sort of share of sales of ereaders, but I don’t think there is a huge future in them. With tablets becoming more ubiquitous and more powerful, and the screens getting better, needing a dedicated reading device is going to become more and more unnecessary. At that point, does B&N have the infrastructure to be a player on the global tablet market against the likes of Apples, the various PC tablet makers, and Amazon? I don’t think so, and I’m guessing they are seeing that writing on the wall. They have been able to use Nook to keep afloat, to weather the storm of the initial push into the digital age, and now they need to find a way to establish themselves as booksellers in this market rather than technology sellers.

It’s at this point that finding some sort of partnership with MS makes a lot of sense. MS is big enough to run with the hardware end, and the software end comes naturally.  Also, B&N can become a bit of  a gateway to content for MS, depending on where B&N wants to take itself I’m a bit under the weather and my head is still pretty cloudy from lack of sleep, sickness, overmedication, and coffee, so it is a bit difficult to get my thoughts organized about this. However, it seems MS wants the next xbox to be even more of a media hub. Part of that is print – books, magazines, whatever. B&N seems to be a natural gateway for that. If they can find a way to scratch eachother’s needs, it could be hugely beneficial to them.

Haruki Murakami translated The Great Gatsby into Japanese, and here is something he wrote about it. I’m a Murakami fan and a Gatsby fan, so this was pretty much up my alley. A good read.

Okay, I don’t have as much to talk about as I thought, so I think I’m ending it here.

 

Book Links 10-4-12

October 4, 2012

EContent has a good article about YA publishing and its ability to cross barriers to bigger audiences.  I’ve tried, but I just can’t find YA lit overly interesting. I know this is going to sound disparaging, but I’ve tried Hunger Games, I’ve tried Potter, etc. and I just don’t feel engaged by it. Still, if you’re looking for a place to write and make money in, YA definitely seems like the destination to be.
Over at BookRiot there is an article about the Musashino University Library in Tokyo. Not much to say, just a neat library to look at. They need to fill more of those shelves, though!

On a similar note, here’s a collection of home libraries from dornob. I thought my wife and I had a lot of books, but these folks put us to shame. Check it out, be envious.

Microsoft and B&N complete Nook Media. I will admit that I’m not entirely sure where this is going to go, but I find it interesting none the less. while Amazon and Apple have an all-in-one thing going with their own devices and stores, B&N and Microsoft have teamed up to (apparently) provide a similar service. Considering my distaste for Amazon, and my too thin wallet for Apple, I’m probably on MS/B&N’s side here. I prefer the Nook ereaders to the Kindles, and I really like the idea behind the surface tablets (though the possible price tags for the “pro” edition are a bit of a stumble for me).

Apple IPad – hands-on

April 25, 2010

I finally got my grubby little mitts on an IPad yesterday. It’s a cute little thing. Very light, pretty comfortable. Found some of the controls awkward. Tried typing, which was alright but only comfortable when done one-handed. My complain with it is pretty much the same, though: a lack of use/functionality.

Give it a stylus and I think it would excel as a notepad. It’s size is perfect for even tiny desks and it weighs next to nothing. Instead of having the ruffled pages of a couple of notebooks crammed into a backpack, this thing could be a wonderful substitute.

But beyond notetaking, it seems pretty limited. It’s not overly powerful, it doesn’t have even a USB connector and to set it up with an actual keyboard and what not you have to go out and buy a bunch of accessories.

What it seems to be targeted at is stuff like Kindle and the Nook, devices which have also drawn my ire. As a media viewer, it’s nearly ideal. The screen is a good size for personal viewing, very bright and, after a fwe minutes of acclimation, the system was easy to navigate. I didn’t have a problem with text, though I think Kindle still has a better screen, but I’ve also never had much of a problem reading off a computer screen for long periods of time so I might not be the best judge for that.

So I guess my question comes down to do you want to spend that kind of money just to watch/read downloaded content? I’ve already made taht decision regarding the Kindle and other e-readers – it’s just not worth it to me.

The device I’m still curious about is the Lenovo U1 Hybrid. Significantly more expensive base price than the Ipad (though similar prices when all of the accessories for IPad are bought) but with more function built into it.

(E)Magazines Galore

December 9, 2009

Awhile back I posted an article linking Conde Nast Publishing and Apple’s development of a tablet PC rumored to hit the market in the fall/winter of 2010. The thought was that Apple was forming some sort of partnership to help pull E-readers to their tablet to help break into a market dominated by specialty readers like Kindle or Nook.

Whether Apple is involved or not, five major publishers have banded together to push for a more open e-literature world.  Demanding a universal standard that allows their magazines to be accurately transferred to a digital medium across a wide range of viewers – rather than the specialized files used by current readers – it is clear that this is but a prong on a multi-faceted attack to allow PCs into the suddenly lucrative E-reader world.

If a standard is established and all magazines, newspapers and novels are published in that one form that is open for all computers/readers/cell phones/etc. to download and read, it’ll open up a world of competition for Kindle, Nook and the Sony Reader. Instead of having to make a severely specialized product to compete in the market, a company like Apple (or Del or HP or…) would be able to do what they do best: make a jack-of-all trade machine that hits a specific price range. We’ve seen the proliferation of the netbook (which I find horribly unusable with their smurf sized keyboards…) so we know big box computer companies can easily shift their gears to make smaller computers.

This is something to keep an eye on in the next year and maybe make you re-consider throwing down that two to three hundred bucks on that brand spanking new e-reader. While their displays are nice and they do what they do very well, the e-lit world could be on the cusp of a minor revolution.