From author Gene Doucette:
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Barnes & Noble has become that relative we all talk about as if they’re already dead, even when they’re right in the room with us, and they don’t even mind because at least we’re talking about them.
I say this knowing all too well that people have been eulogizing this former titan of retail for years and yet the company is still around. That doesn’t mean the eulogies have been incorrect; it’s just taking longer than expected. Like Radio Shack, which you probably think has been out of business for five or six years now but only filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and probably still have some stores out there somewhere.
Here are the latest tell-tale signs of the inevitable doom of B&N, and specifically (for my particular corner of the world) the NOOK: last week, in rapid succession, the company sent out notices that they would no longer be selling books in the recently opened NOOK UK store; and they would no longer be supporting third party apps on the NOOK reader. Both of these changes (and if you didn’t know there was a NOOK UK store, well, that’s part of their problem, isn’t it?) would be official as of March 15, 2016, which was only twelve days from the date on the notices. This was in the shadow of their announcement of losses in the fourth quarter of 2015, which came earlier the same week (reported optimistically as losses that might be ‘leveling off’ by the estimable New York Times, who have been hopefully predicting the resurgence of B&N for so long now it’s becoming embarrassing.)
If you owned a business and an employee gave you less than two week’s notice right after they mentioned financial troubles, you’d probably think something had gone terribly wrong in that employee’s life. I appreciate that with B&N they’re trying to consolidate in order to reduce cost, but this already comes after they tried to sell NOOK outright to Microsoft, and Microsoft took a good look and backed out. And on the list of companies I expect to make fiscally sane decisions, Microsoft isn’t really near the top.
. . . .
I quite inadvertently learned a lot about how things were going at B&N NOOK when I ran a book promotion in December. This was a BookBub promotion (follow the link if you don’t know them; they’re great) where I marked down an anthology to $0.99 for two days.
With NOOK, I had to mark down the book myself, and I had to do it about four days ahead of time to make sure it was at the discount price when it was supposed to be, because—according to the email I received from support a mere 24 hours after asking—a price change could take that long to show up on the site. I don’t know this for sure, but I think the reason is, the one guy there who does the changes might be away for the weekend. I’m not being entirely sarcastic. I think if you put in a change at Nook, a human being has to input the change. Really.
. . . .
So that was the first thing. The second was what happened the day of the sale.
As you might imagine, total-books-sold on a given day impacts a book’s public rank. For instance, The Immortal Chronicles anthology, on the day of the BookBub promo, climbed up to the top 50 overall on Amazon thanks to over 1400 sales in less than 24 hours. Meanwhile, over on the Nook, the anthology sold a little over 200 copies in the same period, which was enough to get it into the top 10.
Even taking into account that the two sites may calculated best-seller rank differently, go ahead and read those totals again and then ask yourself how many ebooks Barnes & Noble could actually be selling every day.
Link to the rest at Gene Doucette
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