According to the New York Times, the Nook, the not-popular-enough eReader from Barnes and Noble, is all but officially dead.
Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest book chain, warned that when it reports fiscal 2013 third-quarter results on Thursday, losses in its Nook Media division — which includes sales of e-books and devices — will be greater than the year before and that the unit’s revenue for all of fiscal 2013 would be far below projections it gave of $3 billion.
The problem was not so much the extent of the losses, but what the losses might signal: that the digital approach that Barnes & Nobles has been heavily investing in as its future for the last several years has essentially run its course.
A person familiar with Barnes & Nobles’s strategy acknowledged that this quarter, which includes holiday sales, has caused executives to realize the company must move away from its program to engineer and build its own devices and focus more on licensing its content to other device makers.
I’ve long thought that the Nook was destined to fail as a hardware device since the emergence of the iPad. It had a chance to survive against the Kindle and actually supplanted the Sony eReader as #2 in the marketplace.
But then came the iPad.
Amazon had a head start with the Kindle and the iPad had the iOS ecosystem. Nook had nothing but a declining brick-and-mortar retail store to back it up. Even when B&N signed on with Books A Million to distribute the device (which I think anyone can agree was extremely odd), it never really made enough of a dent in the market share owned by Amazon.
Once people became accustomed to reading on their iPad, the Nook was toast.
It does appear that B&N will keep up development of their app, for what that’s worth. But even that is struggling in the marketplace to gain a real share of the eBook market.
So to me, this comes as little surprise. It was only a matter of time.
Do you own a Nook? What’s your take on this news?