Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Monday Midday News: BN & Microsoft’s Nook Deal. Is this the...


On Saturday, I received this email from a reader. I have her permission to repost it. I find it ironic that I am posting this today when the news in the book world is replete with details about Barnes & Noble’s new deal with Microsoft.

Jane, I noted some posts about B&N & its possible future. I’ve tried never to buy online, wanting to keep new book stores in business. I was a regular Borders customer, using its discount coupons, but, based on the local one in Glendale, CA, I can understand why it didn’t make it. It refurbished its store, placing the Romances on the 2nd floor, at the back of the store, where no customer rep was located. At that time I spoke w/the manager indicating that my feelings were that since Romance readers read 60% of PBs, he might consider placing them where buyers could find them. I ended w/”be what you are, i.e., a book store, not a seller of mags, stationery & lattes”.

Since its closure, I’ve tried to turn to B&N. It has very few viable coupons & rather terrible service, but, the main negative is on the day of release, it has no stock. It’ll send me one w/no shipping cost, but, if I didn’t care if I got it late or not, I’d have ordered online. I asked if I order & pay in advance, could I pick it up on the release date, only to be told that it couldn’t guarantee the book would arrive at the store by its release date. Now, this is NOT an obscure book, I’m talking about Carr’s Virgin River books. I figured I spent over $300 last year in new books. Except for 1 mo. I ordered every mo. from eHq. under its upcoming books procedure, i.e., able to order 1 mo. early, only $3 shipping (or free at $15) & allowing a customer to send a check after delivery.

So, for other publishers, I’ve been using Amazon, pre-ordering & paying $1 extra to arrive on the release date. So far it’s worked out well. I’m sorry to lose the real book store, but, it appears it just doesn’t care if I shop there or not. I know ebooks have become the in-thing. However, I try to get away from technology, & the device book reading just doesn’t appeal. I don’t understand why book stores don’t have procedures that make it easy to buy books, not deter customers from doing so.

From a Reader

I’ve tried to put the quotes in story order, so you can get the most out of the BN news this morning.

“Content lies” with Newco, Lynch said. “The relationships with publishers will be Newco relationships.” In other words, book publishers would sign e-book contracts with the new company, not with Barnes & Noble.”Paid Content

Freebie beginning tomorrow

  • Yorkshire by Lynne Connolly * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S | ARE

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. Lada
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 10:59:48

    Anyone in the midwest remember a high end department store named Dayton’s? They created a subsidiary named Target. I think Dayton’s lasted less than 2 years after the split and I don’t give BnN much longer, especially given their criminal lack of customer service. Malls will have Newco/Nook kiosks by Christmas.

  2. Amber
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 11:38:37

    My local B&N also has romances relegated to the corner, with very small shelf space compared to other sections. You’d never be able to guess that romance outsells them all, but it’s a testament to our love of the genre that it does despite such obvious disdain by booksellers.

  3. Brian
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 11:40:05

    but, the main negative is on the day of release, it has no stock. It’ll send me one w/no shipping cost, but, if I didn’t care if I got it late or not, I’d have ordered online.

    Sounds an awful lot like what first sent me to Amazon years ago. I used to buy a ton from B&N and Borders in my pbook days until the answer was always ‘we don’t have it’, ‘we don’t get some new releases until a few weeks later’, ‘we can order it for you’.

  4. DS
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 12:00:58

    No local B&N. Books-a-million bought the deceased Borders though. I went in there a couple of weeks ago looking for a children’s book– not a new one but a popular one. When I didn’t see it on the shelves I asked if the other in-state store might have it available. No, but I could have it in 3 weeks if I wanted to special order.

    Three weeks? I had gone to the store hoping to avoid a 2 day delay from Amazon. I went home, ordered from Amazon and it in fact received it the next day because it was shipped from Lexington.

    Don’t know why I bothered.

  5. Darlynne
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 12:08:33

    As a WordPerfect user (and yes, WP 5.1 was the best power word processing software the world has yet known) I hate Microsoft with all those hot, fiery suns. Now they’ve got my Nook? But, ever the optimist, maybe this will be good news in the long run, even though I’m still pissed about 5.1. “Newco,” though, could have used some additional corporate identity work; it just sounds like … nothing.

  6. Elaine
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 12:26:19

    I think Newco is a place-holder name and will be changed.

    I think optimistic Nook owners are going to be disappointed. I don’t think MSFT is going to be very interested in helping Newco support the Nook legacy hardware which is built around a competing operating system called Android. However, you may get a nice coupon to defray some of the cost of buying a tablet running Windows 8 with the Metro user interface.

  7. Linda Hilton
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 12:51:41

    @Darlynne: OT, but you’re not alone. I refuse to give up Word PERFECT. It beats the pants off the other thing.

  8. Helen
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 13:30:17

    I have pretty much stopped shopping at B+N. When I do go I no longer look for my own books, I go to customer service and get them to do it for me. Most of the time the new books have not been shelved so I couldn’t find them if I tried. One day it took them about 20 minutes to find four books, and I was watching them – they weren’t helping other customers!

    I won’t be renewing my members card with them.

    Having said that, I am still irritated to have to pay full price for books on the Kindle. I just bought Betrayal by Christina Dodd. So far I have seen the heroine’s name spelled with a lower case letter a few times, and then one word that was so badly spelled that I couldn’t guess what it was. As a physics major spelling is not my strong suit, so I wonder how many things I’ve missed. No, not a happy camper.

  9. Lynne Connolly
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 14:04:35

    Microsoft is really keen to build up its presence in the mobile market. I don’t think they’ll fundamentally change the Nook, and in any case, their $300 million only buys them just over 17% investment. B and N keeps the rest.
    while they’ll most likely introduce Windows 8 into the mix, the current version of Windows works really well with Android, so I’m not fundamentally opposed to that. And the big tech involvement from Microsoft will help with R and D.
    for a big company like Microsoft, it makes a lot more sense to buy into a rapidly maturing market, rather than to create from scratch, and while the Nook is an excellent product (I’ve switched to Nook from Kindle, and the tech is one big reason) it is obviously in a weak position right now because of the way the rest of the business is underperforming.

  10. MaryK
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 14:15:00

    @Darlynne: My office ditched WP about 5 years ago, and I still have episodes of bitterness. I’ve gotten a lot more lax about formatting since then because I know I’m not going to get Word to do what I want.

  11. Isobel Carr
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 15:03:53

    I too miss WP. *weeps*

  12. Linda Hilton
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 15:35:07

    @Isobel Carr: ;-) I don’t miss WP at all — I use WP X4 every day, will probably upgrade to X5 in the next few months. It does everything that other program does, does it better, does more, and never goes out of date. I’ve been digging into old files on ancient floppy disks from the early 1990s and even late 1980s (Whoa!) and easily resurrecting documents originally created in WP 4.0 for DOS. Once they’re opened and saved in the current format, they convert readily to that other program and, with a little bit of clean-up and very minor format tweaking, they’re ready for html.

    When I recently had to fix a formatting error in a new .doc file from that other software but couldn’t find exactly where the error was, I opened the file in WP, hit “reveal codes” and found it in seconds.

    My apologies for hijacking the thread. I guess I’m just a rabid WP fan behaving badly.

  13. Brandy
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 16:16:50

    I have the Nook app, not an actual Nook and will not be purchasing one. I, too, abhor B&N’s customer service and lack of book savvy. If a book is released and you have the stock (in the back) why is it not on the shelves? Also, I have an online gift certificate for B&N that I haven’t been able to use because it won’t let me purchase anything (even though the ebook I wanted was under the cost of the GC) without entering a credit card.

  14. rebyj
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 16:29:20

    I gave my Nook color away to my daughter within a month of buying it. Download errors, freezing screen etc. Customer service EVERY TIME just said ” de-register and re-register” which involved having to download everything again. After the 5th time I was done. She uses it for apps. I never recommend Nook to anyone. I have 100+ dollars worth of Nook books that are useless to me just sitting in my account .

    I have the Kindle Fire and haven’t had any problems except on occasion it will drop wifi and I have to restart my cable modem.

    Books A Million is the only bookstore near me and it has never had new releases on release day. I don’t even bother checking anymore.

    I’d buy more ebook versions on release day if they weren’t freakin 12.99-14.99!

  15. helen
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 16:31:26

    Unlike many here, I have never had a bad experience at a BN physical store. I love my local store. The sales people are very knowledgeable can always suggest books in just about every genre that are like the books I mention I like. They go out of their way to help me anytime I need it and I never have a problem finding a new release. I will say I don’t like the new trend towards kids books, games, and toys but it does not seem to have impacted the number of books they carry in any large way (I do hate all the screaming children though…very annoying!) The nook kiosk is always well manned and any time I’ve had a problem they have always addressed it right away. All in all I’d be very sad if the BN physical stores were to close, I spend several hours there every week and enjoy every minute of it.

  16. Darlynne
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 16:54:12

    @Linda Hilton: Reveal codes. *sigh* Now there’s a perfect topic for a romance novel, imo. “They were two terabytes of undifferentiated and confusing data, until they took a chance and revealed their codes.” I think we’ll start with a .99 introductory price, 50-75K words.

  17. Rebecca
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 17:38:30

    I agree with Helen. I’ve had good experiences at my B&N store and if they don’t have something I order from their website with the free express shipping for members. I would hate to lose B&N – I wonder where I’d even buy books then. I disagree with Amazon’s business practices and priorities so I wouldn’t want to give them my money. :(

  18. library addict
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 17:39:56

    Glad to hear Newco is just a place-holder name. These days, naming something so lame doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.

    I quit shopping at B&N years ago. Tried again when Borders closed, but the staff was so dismissive of romance I won’t go back.

    I guess this will mean the end of Fictionwise though. I was hoping with Agency pricing coming to an end they could revive somewhat. I do not like their format though. I miss the days when they sold multiple formats. Then again, I miss LIT so…

  19. Brian
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 18:50:58


    I have 100+ dollars worth of Nook books that are useless to me just sitting in my account.

    FYI, in case you didn’t know you can load the B&N Nook app onto your Fire (you don’t need to root it or anything) and will be able to use those books if you want (if you don’t want to removed their DRM so you can convert them for your Fire).

  20. Brian
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 18:52:40


    Also, I have an online gift certificate for B&N that I haven’t been able to use because it won’t let me purchase anything (even though the ebook I wanted was under the cost of the GC) without entering a credit card.

    That will probably never change. B&N’s DRM system (adapted from the eReader format which they own) relies on a CC number as part of its encryption methods.

  21. Brian
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 18:55:42

    @library addict:

    Then again, I miss LIT so…

    LOL, I kinda miss it sometimes too. Kind strange that Microsoft came up with what was probably the best eBook format pre-ePub (it’s really kinda ePub version 1) and let it linger with little support, eventually killing it off and now they’re hooking up with B&N for eBooks.

  22. ducky
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 20:05:17

    It takes my local B&N at least a week past the publishing date to get new genre titles in. So I buy the few print books I still buy from amazon or Target.

  23. Wahoo Suze
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 21:25:29

    (and yes, WP 5.1 was the best power word processing software the world has yet known)

    Hee! I was using Lotus Manuscript when my company switched to WordPerfect (sometime around 1989?), and WP was a HUGE step backward for me. WP eventually got better, but Manuscript was awesome. I was so sad that Lotus let it die when everything became Windows.

    And I must say, I liked Word a lot better before it got all uppity and started autocorrecting my format. I ALONE SHALL DECIDE THE FORMAT! If I wanted that word to be capitalized and indented, I would have fucking made it that way! And leave my fucking bullets where I put them!

  24. Supernatural Betty/Jen
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 21:36:49

    Though I prefer our local indy for physical books, I love the Nook app, which I have on all of my iDevices (iPod, android). I think it beats the Kindle app and I’ve never had a problem buying ebooks from B&N.

    I’m hoping that the Microsoft buy-in will actually help B&N in it’s struggle to stay afloat. Microsoft has the opportunity to do what Apple has done with its OS and iTunes, mainly integrate B&N/Nook capability and bookstore into the Windows platforms. Most people are not terribly computer savvy and tend to do what’s easiest. So if your tablet runs on Windows and has an embedded Nook app/store, you’re more likely to buy from B&N because it’s right there. (Same with Apple/iTunes/iPad).

  25. Hannah E.
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 22:13:56

    And I must say, I liked Word a lot better before it got all uppity and started autocorrecting my format. I ALONE SHALL DECIDE THE FORMAT! If I wanted that word to be capitalized and indented, I would have fucking made it that way! And leave my fucking bullets where I put them!

    @Wahoo Suze:


    On the subject of B&N, I gave up trying to get new releases from them a few years ago when I had to go all over town just to get my hands on a copy of Princeps’ Fury by Jim Butcher as a gift for my husband. It was several days after the release date, and given how well-known Butcher is, I was sure B&N would have a copy. I tried three different locations, but I finally ended up finding it in Borders instead. Nowadays, I’d just order new releases online if I had to have them on release date for some reason.

  26. DeeCee
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 22:31:03

    @ Wahoo Suze:

    And I must say, I liked Word a lot better before it got all uppity and started autocorrecting my format. I ALONE SHALL DECIDE THE FORMAT! If I wanted that word to be capitalized and indented, I would have fucking made it that way! And leave my fucking bullets where I put them!

    LOL. Ditto to that. It’s gotten to the point that I’d rather write something in the godawful Notepad then in Word.

    I’ve been really let down by B&N in the last few years. I switched to them after my local Borders moved years ago, and then they slowly evolved to a game/magazine/Nook store. Like most of you guys I couldn’t find anyone to help me (and the few people I can spot that work there always look so frazzled), and then started ordering more on their site until they changed the rules on their coupons, and finally dropped my membership this past December (after they automatically charged me for despite not being on the auto renew feature). Now I buy everything from Walmart or Hastings. Hastings offers free shipping on books and coupons, I can use gift cards w/o a credit card on file, and it only takes 3-7 days to get here.

    I think what most businesses fail to realize is that more people would shop in person to boost local sales if the stores had a varied selection.

    The news that the troubled B&N and Microsoft have joined isn’t surprising. I imagine that in a few months or maybe a year they’ll announce some new ereader/tablet that will eliminate the nook or change the software to where the buyer will once again have to shell out buttloads of cash to “own” their books.

  27. Brandy
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 23:48:28

    @Brian, Thanks. I figured it was something like that. I have no interest in putting in my CC so I guess the GC will just sit there. This entire post makes me like my Kindle Fire even more…

  28. rebyj
    May 01, 2012 @ 00:11:10


    Thanks! Where do I find the nook app to download it? It’s not in the app store on the Fire.

  29. MaryK
    May 01, 2012 @ 01:23:11

    @Wahoo Suze:

    If I wanted that word to be capitalized and indented, I would have fucking made it that way! And leave my fucking bullets where I put them!


  30. Ellie
    May 01, 2012 @ 04:53:51

    That’s my main complaint about B & N – not having things on day of release! At my store it’s always the day after or even later. That irks me to no end.

    And paying a membership fee for a lousy 10% off – I won’t be renewing. If my store goes under I won’t be happy, but I won’t be surprised either.

  31. Vuir
    May 01, 2012 @ 08:34:08

    For anyone having problems with Word, search for autocorrect and turn off everything.

  32. Brian
    May 01, 2012 @ 09:19:44

    I know some folks have gotten it for their Fire’s from GetJar…

    You can also use Mantano, Aldiko or BlueFire to read B&N DRM’d ePubs instead if you want (they also work with regular Adobe DRM’d ePubs).

    Jane did a post on some of this a while back…

  33. LizJ
    May 02, 2012 @ 10:39:20

    I tend to buy B&N Nook ebooks because despite some effort put into it, I haven’t figured out how to remove the DRM from Kindle books. Hopefully, this partnership won’t mean the end of the Nook iPad app. I guess it’s a good reminder to back up your ebooks, whatever format, on a computer, and de-DRM them if you can. It’s the best insurance against a sudden forced format change.

  34. PA Wilson
    May 02, 2012 @ 11:59:31

    Wow, I haven’t been in a bookstore for a few years – I went all in with digital and haven’t looked back.
    I didn’t realize they had lost their contact with basic sales techniques. Putting your highest selling product in the back of the store isn’t the same as putting the dairy at the back to make people walk through other sections. Romance readers want their romance.

    It’s difficult to watch as bricks and mortar businesses stumble around trying to make the new world fit into their old paradigm.

  35. henofthewoods
    May 02, 2012 @ 21:03:39

    My local Barnes and Noble is four stories tall. 4!!!!!!! The romance books are on the fourth floor, all the way in the back and they use that same narrow aisle to store the chairs for the reader signings. The philosophy aisle is twice as wide. How many people ever willingly go and buy and read a book from the philosophy aisle? And how often does that miraculous purchase occur? They are just trying to make themselves feel less like sell-outs for the giant floor o’ toys which dominates the store, the puzzle section, the cafe, and the little-gifts-that-you-don’t-want-to-receive areas scattered around the first floor. Since the Nook took over the area near the entry door, they have hidden “recent popular paperbacks” which contained some of the shameful romance novels.
    My now-closed physically nearer B and N was better, but their rent went up drastically so the chain closed the branch. The Borders in our area was somewhat better, but least said, soonest mended. There are no stores that offer romances without shaming in my area.

    And I have converted to a mix of ebooks from online stores, ebooks from the library and all of my print books from the library.

  36. txvoodoo
    May 03, 2012 @ 11:37:57

    @Darlynne: Chiming in here late but fully in agreement with the Reveal Codes Love Affair.

    Using WordPerfect’s macro language, pre 1990, I built an entire automated document generating system for the legal department in our company. Now THAT’S flexibility.

    I still think that the reason I grasped and mastered HTML so quickly was because of understanding WP codes thanks to Reveal Codes.

%d bloggers like this: