Microsoft and Barnes & Noble ended a deal in December, 2014, between them. According to numerous reports, B&N has been losing money on their Nook readers for some time, over $1 billion lost since the eReader hit the market. Microsoft entered the picture in an effort to help boost the eBook Nook reader. Now that partnership is over.
What went wrong? My experience with the Nook hasn’t been a bubble fest. When the Nook made its debut, it caught my attention and I purchased it after a really great demonstration by an employee at Barnes & Noble. But, over time, the thing was not used — I am a devout book fan — so the Nook often could be found on a desk covered by clutter, or tucked in a drawer for months. I then got a Kindle, the first generation. It did not impress me but rather than end my relationship with the Kindle readers, I purchased a Kindle Fire. No regrets, no looking back. And the Nook — it remains where it’s left with a dead battery that is charged when it’s found. Why do I prefer the Kindle? Perhaps it’s Amazon’s prices, or that the selection is better because they allow Indie writers to post books on their site and because Amazon, itself, is a publisher. That is not to say the Nook wasn’t a good device to read books, but there were, in my mind, limitations within the Barnes & Noble structure. They are sellers of books, not publishers. Amazon struck gold, IMO, by stretching itself into the publishing world.
If a guess had to be ventured, the end of eBooks formatted for Nooks is not on the horizon. Too many people have these devices and the cry of “foul” would be loud and angry. Then again, it’s been proven large corporations believe in money, profits and are not supportive of customers loyal to their products. Here’s to hoping for the best with respect to those who love the Nook, that they will not be left with a paperweight like those who purchased high definition over blue ray format.
With so few choices left for people to choose from with respect to actual book store chains — I still shed a tear over the loss of Borders — let’s hope this isn’t a smoke screen, that Barnes and Noble is not at the point of, or hovering near, folding. On the other hand, I must be honest about one thing. I can’t recall when I last went inside a Barnes & Noble store. Or that I have plans to. I never connected with that chain and can’t explain why.