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Friday News: B&N tries to lower expectations; Penguin + Random House...

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The latter has to be most disconcerting given that the technology side is supposed to save them. But B&N has lacked one of the biggest drivers of tablet sales. Content. Yes, there are books and some magazines, but tablet users want movies and music and B&N provides little access to either other than through streaming. Using a forked Android base and not allowing users access to Google Marketplace has been a huge mistake. Not implementing Windows 8 on its devices given the percentage stake now owned by Microsoft is another mistake.

B&N is providing no compelling reason to buy the Nook tablets over the Amazon Kindle Fire or the Google Nexus tablets even though the hardware specifications for the Nook might be better than both. Further, B&N seems wholly unprepared to provide the tech support necessary when selling tech devices.

If you recall, the number one customer support issue for All Romance is DRM, even though DRM books represent a tiny fraction of books sold at ARE. Since the launch of the Nooks, B&Ns customer service related to ebooks and ebook devices have frustrated and stymied users. Several people report to me that they do not buy ebooks at B&N despite loving their nooks. That’s a real problem for B&N. One of the many that they face to stay relevant in the book market. paidContent

Bertelsmann, the parent of RH, will own 53% of the company and Penguin will own 47% of the company. The original plans to merge came to light last winter and the companies indicated that the editorial staffs were not likely to be affected and the two houses would continue to operate as separate units for acquisitions but that there were in house efficiencies to be gained through merging, supposedly through warehousing, delivery, fulfillment and the like. The Digital Reader

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

12 Comments

  1. Liz H.
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 04:55:14

    I own a Nook and love it, but Barnes and Noble comes in a distant second to ARe in my content purchasing because of DRM.

    Also, the Nook program for Macs bites the big one. I can’t even get it to open 90% of the time. (Unless it’s changed within the last few months.) I use and love calibre, and won’t replace it with the Nook program, but I’d think a functioning program for one of the major OSs should be a pretty basic requirement…

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  2. sandyl
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 06:04:28

    Jane, you are totally right. The Nook hardware is nice, but the content is not so good. There were so many apps that I reall wanted and B&N didn’t offer them. I finally bought the iPad mini with Christmas money.

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  3. Lynn M
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 06:57:53

    My problem with my Nook is the fact that some e-version books cost more than the hard paperback copy. Time and again I expected to pay $10.99 for an e-version when I can get the paperback for $8.99. Sure, I love the convenience of the electronic version but why would they ever expect me to pay more for it? Stupid move when you are trying to incentivise people to buy content.

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  4. Ren
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 07:18:31

    My grandpappy taught me when I was a wee tyke, “It’s better to do one thing and be the best at it than to do lots of things badly.”

    If he were alive today, he’d point to the abject failure of B&N’s diversification efforts and say, “I told you so.”

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  5. Lynne Connolly
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 07:24:37

    I am so over BDSM, except for awesome authors like Joey Hill.
    However, it’s just the old waif and strong, powerful male story in a slightly different guise. That trope has always sold. There, I said it. Trope.

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  6. Keishon
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 07:35:57

    B&N’s floundering reminds me that they did this ebook business before and shut it down. I’m making sure to have all of my ebooks downloaded that I’ve purchased from them over the years. I’m glad that I didn’t invest too heavily.

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  7. Bonnie
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 12:40:38

    I have a Nook and love it; however, not all the books I want are available at B&N. Many authors have to sign an exclusive contract with Amazon making their e-books unavailable anywhere else and forcing you to purchase a Kindle.

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  8. Darlynne
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 14:19:26

    I still use my first edition Nook because it hasn’t broken after all this time and I’m not much for gadget-hopping. That said, I now buy nearly everything from Amazon because of better search capability, customer service, pricing and availability. Thanks to Calibre, it’s all backed up and all mine.

    BN has missed every opportunity to be a powerhouse instead of the “something completely different.” I am saddened, but no longer surprised.

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  9. CK
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 14:36:18

    I love my Nook and will only part with it when it dies, but when my mil wanted to buy one for my son’s b-day, I told her to buy a Fire instead. Content. Content. Content. As for buying at BN, I only do it for the rare book I read during the free hour at a store. Their site is mediocre at best.

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  10. Estara
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 14:48:51

    Jane, let me count the ways I love you for sentences like this

    “The shark has been jumped over, jettisoned into space, exploded into a million pieces and it is now crashing into earth, sprinkling the publishing world like salt on Carthage.”

    Extra love for the Carthage allusion. You are the woman!

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  11. cleo
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 15:44:15

    I remember thinking that Tara Sue Me was a horrible pen name when The Submissive was reviewed here. So strange.

    And I have a Nook Color and the app store is sadly lacking. I agree that their lack of content is really odd. I do love my Nook Color for what I bought it for, which is reading ebooks and surfing the web.

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  12. Little Red
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 20:30:44

    I have a Nook Simple Touch and so far it has worked well so I don’t have issues with the hardware. But yeah, B&N doesn’t make much money off me since I don’t buy too many of their e-books with the DRM.

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