Friday News: B&N tries to lower expectations; Penguin + Random House Mergers approved by DOJ
Barnes & Noble warns investors to expect more bad Nook news – It is possible that B&N’s transformation from book store to something completely different will happen before the end of 2013. B&N has delayed giving its quarterly fiscal reports until February 28. B&N has gone on to warn investors that the losses in 2013 will likely exceed those that took place in 2012. Every segment of B&N appears to be losing money at this point from the retail to the Nook segment.
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
DOJ Signs Off on Random-Penguin Merger – The DOJ has approved the merger of Random House and Penguin. The two ranked 1st and 8th in the world revenues for publishing companies although Penguin’s rank was included as a division of Pearson. Pearson is essentially bifurcating its business into trade and education segments with the trade portion being engulfed in the soon to be merged corporation that will marry Random House and Penguin together.
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
Roald Dahl was a real-life James Bond style spy, new book reveals – In a new biography it is revealed that children’s author Roald Dahl slept with maybe hundreds of upper middle class and wealthy US women in an effort to spy for the British. Nice. Telegraph
NAL Hopes For ‘Fifty Shades’ Audience; Acquires Steamy Fan Fiction Trilogy ‘The Submissive’ – 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. NAL has purchased The Submissive, a trilogy of Twilight fan fiction written by someone going by the pen name “TARA SUE ME” (It really should be Stephanie Sue Me, but whatever). Not to be outdone, S&S has purchased Alice Clayton’s Wallbanger and Redheaded Girl series, also Twilight fan fiction. I wonder if Stephenie Meyer and Hachette would have liked to have investigated licensing of fan fiction works? Deadline.com
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…
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.