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The End of the Nook?

Barnes & Noble (BN) and Microsoft (MS) have announced that BN is buy MS’ share of Nook Media LLC for approximately $125 million.  Although MS is loosing about $175 million on this 2-year investment, it will no longer have to pump $7 million per month into Nook to keep it going.

Obviously the eReader and the related digital media content are not money makers for BN.

Once MS is out of the picture BN will be able to spin-off this losing segment into a separate business. If this spin-off follows typical spin-offs, this new business will be saddled with so much debt that its long-term prospects for survival are dismal to say the least.

This news raises a number of questions that only time can answer.

Will anyone buy a Nook during this holiday shopping season? Would you if you thought the company was going out of business?

Likewise, will anyone buy eBooks as gifts?

Will anyone continue to purchase eBooks from BN, or will the exodus begin, especially since Amazon currently has some good deals on certain Kindle models?

What will happen to eBooks that have already been purchased by current Nook owners? Will they still be available on BN’s website? Can they be moved to a new eReader such as Amazon’s or Kobo’s?

Along with Sony’s earlier decision to leave the North American eReader market, it looks like Amazon has finally won the eReader wars.


Kobo Aura H2O

Do you wish you could read a book while your youngsters splash around in the pool?

Want to take your eReader to the beach, but are afraid of getting it full of sand or wet?

Would you like to read while soaking in the tub?

If you answered Yes to any of the above, Kobo has an eReader for you!

The new Kobo Aura H2O is the first premium eReader to have a waterproof and dust proof design. Be aware that waterproof does not mean that you can take it down with you when you scuba dive. Waterproof means (a) not more than thirty minutes and (b) not deeper than 1 meter (approximately 3 feet).  If you go deeper, the water pressure will force water into the unit. Also, the port cover has to be closed to prevent water or dust or sand from getting into the unit.

The Aura H2O has a 6.8 inch touch screen utilizing E Ink technology. This technology reduces glare and makes the screen appear to be an actual book, thus enabling you to read in the bright sunlight. The ComfortLight will allow you to continue to read at night or while soaking in a tub with candlelight.

Kobo claims that the battery charge will last two months if you read 30 minutes a day with WiFi turned off.

The unit has 4 GB of internal memory and can be expanded with up to a 32 GM micro SD card.


B&N Unveils New Nook

Barnes and Noble has unveiled a new Nook tablet – the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. This is the first Nook not produced by Barnes and Noble.

This new Nook tablet contains a 7 inch display as the prior versions.

What sets it apart from the prior Nook tablets is the features that it includes, although other tablets and smart phones have had these features for years.

  • Front and Rear cameras
  • Multi-window mode to use two apps at once.
  • GPS
  • Dual speakers

It comes with 8 GB of internal memory that may be extended by adding up to a 32 GB micro-SD card.

B&N is charging $179 for the device. Shipping is free.

As an incentive to purchase the Galaxy Tab 4, Barnes &  Noble will give you over $200 of bestselling books, magazines, and TV shows absolutely FREE.

Sony Kills E-Reader

Sony has announced that May’s production run of its e-reader was the last. The e-reader will be available while supplies exist. Whether you can actually find on depends on your country of residence. For example, you might find one in the UK, it is out-of-stock in Canada.

This announcement comes on the heals of Sony’s decision to sell its e-book business (outside of Japan) to Kobo.

Sony’s decision was probably based on the fact that its e-reader was never as popular as those by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo.

Publishers Weekly estimates that Amazon’s Kindle has fifty percent of the e-reader market.

Can Barnes & Noble, which no longer self-produces the Nook, and Kobo remain as viable competitors?



Barnes & Noble: What Now?

Liberty Media owned 17 percent of Barnes & Noble (B&N). It recently sold 90 percent of its holdings, representing 15 percent of the outstanding B&N stock. This sale caused B&N’s stock value to decline 13 percent.

Will Liberty’s action free B&N for more opportunities or is it the death knell for B&N?

Read this CNBC blog post by John Jannarone for more information.

Are small eBook sellers fighting a losing battle?

Jeremy Greenfield at Digital Book World has analyzed the data from a November survey and states that 86% of eBook buyers “buy ebooks from only one retailer, most likely Kindle, iBooks and Nook…”. Not surprisingly, owners of Kindles tend to buy eBooks from Amazon while Nook owners tend to buy from Barnes & Noble.

What does this mean for the small and/or independent sellers?

As Mr. Greenfield stated “The smaller ebook retailers have an uphill battle to fight when it comes to not only attracting new readers but keeping old ones.”

Part of the problem is that Amazon and Barnes & Noble make it extremely easy to purchase eBooks and have them delivered to the reader. Purchasing an eBook from a different retailer requires the purchaser to take an extra few steps to move the book to the device. While not difficult, it is still less convenient.

Perhaps the small and/or independent sellers should concentrate on the mobile app marketplace and skip eReaders altogether?

Will the Nook Survive? Will Barnes & Noble Survive?

This article by Thad McIlroy presents the argument that making a financial guy without retail experience the CEO of Barnes and Noble is tantamount to placing a For Sale sign on all or part of the the company!

Another article, this one by Peter Smith at ITWorld, gives the grim facts that sales of Nook devices and Nook accessories is down drastically from the prior year. B&N blames the downturn on the fact that there were no new Nook devices for the holiday buying season; ignoring the fact that B&N decided not to release any devices. Mr. Smith wonders how long the Nook can survive.

Taken together these articles suggest that current Nook owners should be adding Kindle devices to their wish list for Christmas 2014.

Save on Catching Fire

From now until December 1, 2013 you can save BIG on the Kobo eBook version of Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2).

Read the book that is the basis for the new, highly anticipated movie opening on November 22nd.

Save $$$ off Catching Fire (code: catchingfire75)

Get it now!

Comparing Latest Kobo eReaders

The International Business Times has published an informative article by Marisa Krystian comparing the latest eReaders from Kobo: Glo ($129.99), Aura ($149.99), and Aura HD ($169.99).

Each device allows you to read in the dark via its built-in ComfortLight technology. These devices are black-and-white eReaders, not tablets, so do not plan on any video streaming.

Since these eReaders do not have any buttons, you must press exactly in the center of the screen to return to the home screen. If you are slightly off-center, or have fat fingers, you may unintentionally turn the page.

Although she states that the Aura HD is the closest that you can get to viewing an actual printed book, due to the increased resolution, she prefers the plain Aura.

eBook Subscription Services

Peter Smith on IT World has written an article on three new subscription services for eBooks.

Scribd and Oyster charge a $9 or $10 per month for unlimited access to the books in their respective libraries. Unlimited access means that you can read as many books as you want. The caveat with these services is that you are not actually purchasing the books. If you cancel your subscription – the books are gone.

eReatah charges from $15 – $30 per month depending on the number of books that you wish to purchase: 2, 3, or 4. The key word is purchase – if you cancel your subscription – you still have your previously purchased eBooks.

Deciding factors when deciding between these services:

  • The device used to read books. All services do not support all devices.
  • How many books do you read per month?
  • How many books do you buy per month?
  • Do you only read books once, or do you like to read your favorites multiple times.
  • Which publishers are included with the respective service? Although each service may have thousands of books, they may not all have the same books.

Mr. Smith’s full article is located here.