Barnes & Noble Nook Execs Optimistic About International Expansion

08_nookhdplus_toc_eBarnes & Noble’s Nook digital device and content platform is now doing business in 32 countries and 14 languages and, despite turmoil on the balance sheet for the company, the executives leading its international expansion are optimistic about the future of their efforts.

Related: One Plan to Save Nook

“This is the very tip of our international expansion,” Nook Press general manager Theresa Horner told Digital Book World at the London Book Fair. Nook Press is the self-publishing arm of Nook.

Horner pointed to countries like India, Singapore and Spanish-language markets as places where there wasn’t yet much digital content or ebook purchasing activity but were promising targets for expansion.

Barnes & Noble began its international expansion when it launched Nook in the UK in November of 2012. A year later, it launched in dozens more countries. Among the company’s promotions to build its brand basically from scratch in the country was a “Get Reading” campaign which involved celebrities read to crowds from their favorite titles. The company plans on repeating this again this year.

“We had a really good year last year,” said Colin Eustace, general manager of Nook International. “Brand awareness went through the roof. We’re still committed to this market.”

While the company wouldn’t share device and ebook units, Eustace said that “we’re really happy with the numbers we did in 2013.”

He called the content sales a “slow build” that would grow as more devices made it onto the market. The company is planning on launching a new e-reading device in the UK this year and it will be an e-reader

Nook has also been partnering with Micosoft on distributing its apps through the Windows 8 platform. The company is currently working on a way to have its app power books for all Microsoft tablets and smartphones; today, users have to download the Nook app if they want to use it.

Self-publishing has helped propel Nook’s expansion into international markets. Not only does it allow Nook to offer its readers authors not available in bookstores, but it also is using Nook Press to allow small publishers to use it as a publishing portal, to get their books  on the Nook platform.

“We’re very satisfied with our current situation, internationally,” said Horner.

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