Barnes & Noble’s Big Day and Its Secret News

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Barnes & Noble made a flurry of announcements yesterday that showed that the big bricks-and-mortar bookseller had some digital fight in it.

First, it announced a new leader for its growing international business: Patrick Rouvillois will be vice president and managing director for B&N, responsible for building its brand overseas. He has a strong retail and marketing background, most recently as chief marketing officer for Carrefour, a general retailer with 15,000 stores worldwide. (You can hear Rouvillois speak at the upcoming Publishers Launch Frankfurt on Oct. 8.)

Barnes & Noble also announced that its Nook devices would be sold in four more major UK retailers: electronics retailers PC World and Curry’s, supermarket chain Waitrose and general retailer Sainsbury’s. Nooks will now be sold in nearly 2,000 UK stores.

And B&N also announced Nook Video, a proprietary video offering licensing video from some of the biggest studios, like HBO, Sony, Starz, Walt Disney and many more, an offering that looks on the face of it pretty good against any competitor (ahem: Amazon, Apple).

But the company may have had some more under-the-radar rumblings. At the Digital Book World Discoverability and Marketing conference yesterday, B&N VP of digital marketing off-handedly claimed that the second-leading e-book retailer in the U.S. has a 30% e-book market-share. That’s more than the 25% B&N is thought to have.

If it’s a shift in share for B&N, that’s significant in a market that’s set to top $2 billion in 2012.

UPDATE: Barnes & Noble has also launched a new suite of tablets to compete with Amazon’s new line of Kindle Fire tablets, including a 9-inch tablet that is priced lower than the comparable Amazon offering. Read more at GigaOm.


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The rest of the day’s top news:

AAP Fires Back at ALA (DBW)
It’s quickly becoming a war of words between the American Library Association and the Association of American Publishers. Earlier this week, the ALA wrote a strongly worded open letter to publishers imploring them to sell e-books to libraries. Yesterday, the AAP responded with its own fiery letter, calling the ALA’s missive “disappointing” and poorly timed with the new ALA head set to address a large group of publishers, a meeting arranged by the AAP.

Facebook Coming to Amazon Author Pages (DBW)
Authors and publishers should “like” this: Facebook integration will be coming soon to Amazon author pages. Under the radar news: For Amazon Publishing authors, the e-tail giant is experimenting with giving them daily Kindle e-book unit sales. How long until the rest of the publishing industry gets such stats?

Google Launches Tablet, E-Books in Japan (Japan Times)
Google chairman Eric Schmidt was in Tokyo to launch Google’s tablet and e-book businesses in Japan. The Nexus 7 tablet is now available in Japan for ¥19,800 ($254.60), more than it costs in the U.S. but less than half of what the iPad costs in Japan. Kobo launched in Japan this summer and Amazon is launching in the country imminently. Readers in Japan have been slow to take to e-books.

Related: Two Rules of International E-Book Expansion

Digital David vs. Print Goliath (The Shatzkin Files)
Nimble, digital publishing start-ups have an advantage over the established, full-service publishing houses in a world going increasingly digital: no legacy infrastructure and costs from an operation designed to distribute dead trees to bricks-and-mortar bookstores.

Publishers, Retailers and EPUB 3 (Pub Perspectives)
According to a lead developer at Hachette Livre in France, publishers are ready to transition to EPUB 3, but retailers are not.

Bookstores in a Digital Book World…in Brazil (DBW)
Bookstores are flourishing in Brazil, just as the country is poised to see explosive growth in digital books. “If something is working well, it is already obsolete. We must think of something new. We must look ahead,” Pedro Herz, president of one of Brazil’s largest bookstore chains Livraria Cultura, said once.

How to Be an Author (Pub Trends)
As the transition to digital puts pressure on publisher revenue streams, some publishers are developing new ones, namely pay-for-play classes for authors on everything from novel-writing to blog-building.

Diversity of Challenges (DBW)
Another recap of some of our DBW Discoverability and Marketing conference: The next best thing to being there.

Casual Million (The Telegraph)
Pre-orders of J.K. Rowlings upcoming adult fiction title The Casual Vacancy have already topped the million unit mark. By comparison, the final Harry Potter book sold 2.5 million copies in its first 24 hours on the market in the UK alone. Still, not too shabs.

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