This week has been a newsy one for Barnes & Noble. First, it was reported that the company may be rethinking its digital strategy and that might mean discontinuing the floundering Nook device business. Despite a rising tide in worldwide tablet sales that lifted the boats of powerhouses like Asus, Nook sunk in the all-important holiday quarter, selling fewer units than in the same period the previous year. And now B&N is exploring a sale of its network of 680 retail stores.
Perhaps in response to the poor sales, Barnes & Noble is now offering for a limited time $50 of digital content for buyers of its Nook HD+ tablet, a nine-inch Android tablet that is sold for $269.
If the reason that Nook tablets aren’t selling well (or well enough) is that people don’t want to pay for the content or that the content is too expensive or, even, that the device is too expensive, this would seem to be a good remedy. But is that the reason the Nook isn’t selling well?
The reason is “a failure of brand,” a Forrester Research analyst told the New York Times recently. Apparently, even though it’s the largest bricks-and-mortar bookseller in the U.S., the B&N brand is “very small” and the company hasn’t done much to expand it beyond its in-store, book-buying customer base.
One $50 giveaway probably won’t change this. If the company made that deal permanent, perhaps its brand would evolve and grow into the one known for the best value (read: lowest prices) – which is the exact space Barnes & Noble’s biggest rival now occupies.
Related: Why Barnes & Noble Should Copy Amazon to Save Nook
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The rest of the day’s top news:
What Is Barnes & Noble Worth? (NYT)
As of this week, the company is currently exploring a sale of its retail store network to Len Riggio, its chairman and largest shareholder. But what’s it worth? One analyst said nearly $500 million, a paltry figure for what was once the beast of the book business. Another wasn’t so optimistic.
Updated: Going From InDesign to Ebook Resources (DBW)
Our popular resource page for going from InDesign to ebooks has been updated. Check it out!
Apps vs. EPUB3 vs. HTML5 (Good E Reader)
Each of these delivery mechanisms has been spoken of as “the future of publishing.” In this long item, Good E Reader speaks with a handful book publishing technology folks about the plusses, minuses and chances of each of the three.
A Book That Adapts to Your Learning (DBW)
McGraw-Hill will be selling its first “SmartBook,” an e-textbook that adapts to your learning style as you use it, in Canada.
Gamification of Ebooks: Good Idea or Bad Idea? (TeleRead)
Whether you like the idea of applying game mechanics to ebooks or not, it works. Related: One Idea to Save Illustrated Ebooks — Gamification.
Selling Ebook Bundles to Libraries (DBW)
RosettaBooks is now experimenting with selling ebook bundles to libraries. One collection of 18 Kurt Vonnegut titles, for instance, will be sold to libraries through ebrary for $13.99.
New VP at Simon & Schuster’s Gallery (DBW)
A reorganization that turned six Simon & Schuster divisions into four is still being felt across the company. A new vice president and associate publisher has been hired at Gallery, one of the remaining four units.
B&N Loses Content Editorial Director to Apple (Pub Lunch)
Patricia Arancibia is leaving her position as editorial director of international acquisition and relations for international content at Barnes & Noble to head Apple’s iBookstore’s European business.
Bookstore/Amazon Lawsuit Update (Pub Lunch)
The judge, plaintiff and defendants in a lawsuit recently filed by three indie bookstores against Amazon and the largest U.S. publishers will meet on March 11 to discuss the case and scheduling of further actions.
Boston Globe Continues With More Ebooks (DBW)
Trying to capitalize on the continuing growth of ebook sales, the Boston Globe has put out another ebook and seems intent on continuing to do so.
Lapham: Digital Age Will Produce Another Shakespeare (Pub Perspectives)
It might take another 100 years, but the digital era will produce another Shakespeare, according to man of letters Lewis Lapham.
Bookish Jobs That Don’t Exist (But Should) (BookRiot)
This is a list of jobs that definitely don’t exist anywhere but definitely should.
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Image Credit: Nook HD+ image via Nook Media Kit