Nook

UK Nook Owners Now Discarding Their “Useless” eReaders

19 May 2016

From The Digital Reader:

When B&N announced that it was closing its Nook UK Store and handing its customers off to Sainsbury’s, I predicted that some Nook owners would find themselves with worthless hardware which neither B&N nor Sainsbury’s would support, and sadly, that has come to pass.

. . . .

“I purchased a book and transferred it to my Nook but it cannot read the format so my wife and I will dispose of our Nooks and not get involved with Barnes & Noble ever again,” one wrote in the comment section of this blog. Another expressed similar frustration, writing “We have two Nooks which are now completely useless. I have downloaded a book to one of the Nooks from Sainsburys but it says it is an unreadable format. I have decided to dispose of the Nooks and never get involved with Barnes & Noble ever again.”
And a third Nook owner is reporting an even more serious problem: “I need to reregister my Nook. At the moment I cannot do so, which means I cannot access the 300+ books I have on there. It has all been transferred to Sainsbury’s but they can’t or won’t help me.”

. . . .

B&N is going to have to do something to help the third owner, but it sounds like most of the problems experienced by Nook owners in the UK are the usual problems with transferring DRMed ebooks from a computer to an ereader. It’s really hard to be sure without having one of the uncooperative ereaders in my hand, but that is what this sounds like.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

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Did Barnes & Noble College just dump the Nook?

25 April 2016

From Chris Meadows via TeleRead:

I happened to cruise by my local Barnes & Noble College bookstore today at IUPUI, about a half hour before closing time to look around. I had it in mind to take another in-person peek at the Nook devices they had on display there, but to my surprise, the display was nowhere to be found. The only Nook accessories I saw were some cases in the 50%-off clearance bin.

When I asked the clerk at the counter about this, he told me that the display had been removed two or three weeks ago, because the Nooks belonged to the branch of the business that ran the stores in the malls and they were really better suited to those stores—among other things, those stores had Internet access, and the campus Barnes & Noble didn’t. As far as he knew, they wouldn’t be available even by special order.

. . . .

I came back home and ran a quick Google, but I wasn’t able to find any news articles anywhere suggesting that Nooks were being removed from Barnes & Noble College stores. I don’t even have any way of knowing if they actually are being removed from all campus stores or just this one—I wanted to call some other stores and spot check them, but in a quick survey of a number of listings on the bncollege.com web site wasn’t able to locate any other stores that have Sunday hours. (Though when I entered “Nook” as a search term on the web stores of several of them, it came up with no results.)

. . . .

It seems a little odd that Barnes & Noble never tried harder to provide a college textbook solution for its own Nooks, given that it operated a chain of hundreds of college bookstores and at the very least could have licensed the Nook to them for that purpose—but perhaps it’s just another symptom of B&N’s waning support for the Nook in the interest of throwing as little good money after bad as possible.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

How Barnes & Noble stole the first e-book I ever bought

16 March 2016

From Chris Meadows via TeleRead:

Sit right back and I’ll tell a tale—a tale of a fateful e-book.

Back in 1998, I was attending college at Southwest Missouri State University for the second time. (It’s since dropped the “Southwest,” leaving me constantly unsure whether to use the old or new name on job applications.) I was intrigued by the promise afforded by the new Palm PDAs and decided to buy one—a Palm IIIe. (And then a Visor Deluxe, but that came later.)

But after I’d ordered the PDA, and while I was still waiting for it to arrive, I noticed one of my all-time favorite e-books was available on Peanut Press—Vernor Vinge’s classic novel of a far-future Usenet-analog, A Fire Upon the Deep. I’d read the book in dead-tree format and loved it, and here it was electronically for just a few bucks. So I grabbed it before I even had anything to read it on yet, just so I would have a book to read when the Palm at last arrived.

. . . .

Fast-forward 14 years, to 2012. Barnes & Noble had bought eReader and Fictionwise, and was now shutting them down in the wake of agency pricing killing their business. It offered to transfer what titles it could from customers’ libraries to Barnes & Noble’s Nook library, but warned that “A few Fictionwise titles may not transfer due to discontinued publishing programs” and recommended customers download those and save them and a copy of the current eReader app for reading them in the future.

. . . .

Over the last couple of years, ever since B&N made it more difficult to access titles I bought there, I’ve stopped buying e-books from Barnes & Noble altogether. I haven’t even looked at my Nook bookshelf in ages.

. . . .

But imagine my surprise when I found that, rather than the original version, I had the BookRags A Fire Upon the Deep study guide in my library—an off-brand Cliff’s Notes on the book—instead. I never bought said study guide, because I don’t buystudy guides. Apparently somewhere along the way Barnes & Noble got confused over titles and substituted it. The original book itself was nowhere to be found.

I wasn’t too concerned—I still have both editions safely in my Calibre library on Dropbox—but I was bemused. I decided to contact Barnes & Noble chat support and see what they could do for me. After I explained the problem, the representative told me that I could go ahead and purchase A Fire Upon the Deep if I wanted, and offered to give me the link.

. . . .

It wasn’t on my account, therefore, I must not have purchased it. When I explained I had originally bought it from Peanut Press in 1998, he nonetheless asked me for an order number, and when I couldn’t provide one (honestly, I don’t even have my email from that far back!) suggested I should call their 800 number and inquire about it in person.

. . . .

Amazon appears to be in no immediate danger of collapse, while Barnes & Noble has been decidedly shaky for a while. I feel for all the UK customers who didn’t want to support Amazon for one reason or another and settled on Barnes & Noble’s Nook as a reasonable alternative—if they’d gone with a Kindle instead, they’d still have their e-books now, without the hassle of moving titles over and the uncertainty of being able to use their devices in the future.

As I said before, Barnes & Noble effectively trashed at least $200 worth of e-books from my Fictionwise and eReader libraries when it moved them over. Now I’ve found that, adding insult to injury, Barnes & Noble has also trashed—or outright stolen—the first e-book I ever bought.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

New Nook Hardware Could Become Worthless in the UK After May 2016

16 March 2016

From The Digital Reader:

With Barnes & Noble set to shutter its UK Nook Store today, its customers are still scrambling to get their ebooks transferred to Sainsbury’s. Some report that the transfer service is flaky, while others say that theyhave yet to receive the email so they can start the transfer process.

Everyone is still trying to parse the frustratingly incomplete FAQs on the Sainsbury’s website and get their questions answered. For example, we know that Sainsbury’s is promising a credit for any title that doesn’t transfer from the Nook Store, but we still don’t yet know everything about whether you will be able to read them on Nook devices.

. . . .

You see, Sainsbury doesn’t say anything about managing a Nook device after the transition, It has an FAQ which neglects to mention that you won’t be able to buy ebooks from the Nook any more (that would require B&N’s servers) while at the same time offering a less than complete explanation of how to load ebooks on to a Nook Uk device (the instructions will not work for the latest Nook model, the Glowlight Plus).

And to make matters worse, that FAQ leaves out a few important details. For example, I found a B&N FAQ which informs us that an unregistered Nook could become useless in the UK after the end of May.

. . . .

[I]f you should have to reset a Nook UK device in June, you won’t be able to reauthorize it to the same account. And if someone gives you a Nook UK device in June or later, you won’t be able to log in using your current credentials.

And since B&N requires that a Nook device be authorized before you can use it, that is a problem.

. . . .

B&N is about to render a lot of hardware worthless.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

Further evidence that Barnes & Noble is clueless with technology. They need to stick with coloring books.

PG says Amazon should offer UK Nook owners a special deal on a Fire tablet or Kindle ereader.

Barnes & Noble’s chief digital officer is “meh” on the threat of Amazon

15 March 2016

From Quartz:

Following speculation that Amazon would open hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores as a follow-up to its first store in Seattle, the company plans this summer to open a second physical bookstore, this one in San Diego.

Fred Argir, chief digital officer at Barnes & Noble, is unfazed.

At the Digital Book World conference in New York this week, Argir brushed off questions about Amazon’s plans. “My win percentage on predicting what Amazon is going to do is very low,” he said in a Q&A with conference chair Mike Shatzkin. “They’re going to do whatever they want to do.”

Argir’s shrug-off comes a few weeks after Barnes & Noble CEO Ron Boire said the company would open a new prototype store that adds a digital component to the experience. (So far the company hasn’t provided any details about a date or location.)

Argir said he sees Barnes & Noble stores as very different from Amazon’s—a place where you can get coffee and have a “family experience.”

. . . .

 Michael Cader, founder of Publishers Lunch, a popular industry publication, and a conference organizer, told Quartz, “The way Barnes & Noble improves its performance is by losing less money on Nook.”

Link to the rest at Quartz

Here’s the summary of Mr. Argir’s experience from the Barnes & Noble press release announcing his appointment as Chief Digital Officer:

Mr. Argir joined Toys “R” Us in 2012. In his role as Chief Digital Officer, he oversaw digital businesses in 13 countries. Prior to that, he was Chief Information Officer at The Sports Authority, Inc. based in Denver, CO, where he led the organization through a formal web redesign, incrementally increasing page conversion through a focus on improved usability and experience. He also served as a consultant to Best Buy, Inc. based in Minneapolis, MN, where he collaborated on productivity and strategic technology investments. Mr. Argir also spent five years at Target Corporation as Vice President of Supply Chain Development. Additionally, he served on the Board of the Global Commerce Initiative.

Mr. Argir also appears to be an indie singer/songwriter.

B&N Nook is Failing Because They Make Customers Hate Them

10 March 2016

From GoodEreader:

Barnes and Noble is the only company in the e-reader and eBook sector that has nothing but alienated their customers. There have been many cases over the years where the lost users in droves, due to a myriad of factors. Recently, the bookseller announced it was closing their app store, video store and UK e-book store. Instead of making it easy for people to access their content, users have to jump through a million hoops.

Barnes and Noble was one of the first big companies to capitalize on the emerging e-reader space in 2009. They released their first e-ink device that year and it had 3G and wireless internet access.  One year later they released their first Android tablet, and it was a critical success.

Most of the executives that were put in charge of the Nook team were basically people from the bookstore division. Bookstores rarely innovate and they were put in charge of technology that changes in a monthly basis.

What did Barnes and Noble do to alienate their customers and start to lose millions of dollars every single quarter? It was a combination of bad hardware, software and terrible business decisions.

The Nook Tablet Debacle 

The first major disconnect between Barnes and Noble and their growing user base was December 21st 2011 when the company disabled the ability to sideload apps from other Android markets.  The 1.4.1 firmware update for the Nook Tablet closed a loophole that allowed people to install apps via the internet browser.  Since it was around Christmas many people received this tablet as a gift and thousands of devices were returned, while the Nook Boards blew up with angry customers who said they would never do business with the company again.

. . . .

You Can No Longer Backup your e-books

In early 2014 Barnes and Noble removed the ability to download eBooks that customers had purchased from the online Nook Store to their computer. They did this so users could not strip the encryption or read the Nook books on 3rd party e-reading apps. This was considered the last straw and many loyal Nook users and they began to openly mock the company for being out of touch.

. . . .

Barnes and Noble closes International Windows App. 

Barnes and Noble has been operating a Windows 8 e-reading app since 2012 that allows users to buy e-books and magazines. It was available in 40 different countries and instead of paying the bookseller directly it’s done via your Microsoft Account.

On August 7th 2015 Barnes and Noble announced that they were closing the bookstore and only US customers would have access. Anyone who bought e-books had a very limited window in which they could get refunds from Microsoft and then they would lose all of their content.

Many international users who wanted an alternative to Amazon were caught completely off-guard. One day they opened the app only to find out everything they bought was gone and the e-reading function was disabled.

Link to the rest at GoodEreader and thanks to Dave for the tip.

B&N nukes the NOOK with a 15 March deadline for customers to save content

10 March 2016

From diginomica:

While we remain committed to providing a great digital reading experience to our customers, we are exploring all opportunities to reduce costs.

That’s the sound of Barnes and Noble CEO Ron Boire sounding the retreat from the firm’s ill-advised venture into competing with Amazon’s Kindle with its own NOOK e-reader.

While his comments are simply reflective of an ongoing shift away by the firm from its digital disappointment, what is interesting is how many actions are now being taken to achieve this. Boire states bluntly:

Our first priority is to significantly improve NOOK performance. During the third quarter, we reduced NOOK expenses by $25 million and recently took additional action to exit NOOK’s app and video businesses that will result in additional cost savings…we are actively engaged in exploring a number of alternatives to materially reduce NOOK’s expense structure.

It’s easy to see why this is the case. While the third quarter saw B&N turn in increased profits of $80.3 million, up from $72.2 million year-on-year, total sales fell 1.8% to $1.41 billion, attributable in large part to poor online sales offsetting decent offline activity in-store.

. . . .

So action is required – and it’s starting to kick in soon. B&N customers need to get used to some big changes coming up next week – 15 March to be precise. That’s when the firm will no longer offer third party applications from the Nook Store. That’s a decision fuelled by the success of Google’s Play Store which runs on B&N devices and has been inevitably far more successful.

This decision impacts every tablet B&N has ever made, but the company insists that all existing Apps previously downloaded from the NOOK Store will remain in customers Nook Library and will continue to be accessible on compatible Nook devices.

From 15 March, customers will also not be able to rent or purchase video content from the NOOK video store, which will be closed down completely on 30 April. If customers want to keep the content they’ve already purchased, the need to transfer content to other providers.

If you’ve bought Disney, Pixar, Marvel or Star Wars content, you need to open an account with Disney Movies Anywhere, while all other content will now require the opening of a CinemaNow account.  If you haven’t done so by 30 April, you lose the content you’ve purchased.

. . . .

For all this, Boire insists that online remains a core part of the company’s ongoing strategy:

BN.com,represents a big opportunity for us and is a very important component of our omni-channel offering. While we are encouraged the site’s improved performance during the third quarter, we still have work to do to improve sales.

We have undertaken major projects to improve the user experience, including a re-design of the front-end, improving SEO by re-engineering certain elements of the site, and improving BN.com’s search tool so that it’s more relevant and intuitive to the customer’s query.

Link to the rest at diginomica and thanks to Barb for the tip.

The Nook’s Weird Death-March

8 March 2016

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

Here’s a link to Gene Doucette’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Barnes & Noble to divest its Nook store of third-party Android apps

3 March 2016

From Chris Meadows via TeleRead:

Barnes & Noble is emailing Nook owners explaining that, as of March 15, B&N will no longer offer third-party Android apps for sale via its app store. All previously-purchased apps will remain available for download, but no new ones will be sold. In-app purchases will no longer be supported, either.

. . . .

The rationale for the change is offered in full-on public-relations speak:

This change is being made to concentrate our focus and efforts on our core digital content business, which are Books and Newsstand, for our US customers.

We will continue offering to US customers our full service for NOOK Books, NOOK Magazines, and NOOK Newspapers on both NOOK devices and our standalone Reading Apps. We look forward to continuing to bring the best content discovery and reading experiences to our NOOK customers.

So, basically, the added effort and expense of listing third-party apps for sale was distracting Barnes & Noble from its core mission of providing digital content for Nook customers. That’s why B&N’s main competitor, Amazon, doesn’t do such a thing itself…oh, wait, it sort of does. And doesn’t allow Fire owners to add apps from Google Play.And continues to outcompete B&N, while it’s at it.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Sounds like reducing losses in the Nook division to PG. Remaining Nookers are burning up the wires to LinkedIn and sending résumés out in herds.

Dear Publisher

3 March 2016

From Nook Press:

Dear Publisher,

We are writing to announce an important change to our NOOK Service that will affect NOOK Press vendors publishing content in the United Kingdom. Effective March 15, 2016, NOOK will no longer sell digital content in the United Kingdom. The NOOK Store on NOOK devices sold in the UK, on the NOOK Reading App for Android, and at www.nook.com/gb will discontinue operations.

. . . .

There is no change to NOOK Service or NOOK Press in the United States. If you are an author based outside the US in a supported country, you can continue to use NOOK Press to publish digital content in the United States and receive payment in your local currency.

Link to the rest at Nook Press and thanks to Joshua and others for the tip.

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