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Posts Tagged ‘nook’

At Barnes & Noble, the future is now

March 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Keeping up with the e-reading industry is really cutting into my writing time. But the business and tech geek/reader in me is just fascinated by all the twists and turns in the epic that is digital books. The latest news — the shakeup at Barnes & Noble — is notable because William Lynch, the company’s dot-com president, is now the struggling bookseller’s CEO.

It’s like a metaphor for the cultural shift that is happening with books and the transition to e-reading. Out with the old, in with the new. Lynch’s experience is in online commerce: Before he joined B&N last year, he was at HSN, founded gifts.com, worked at Palm. At 39, he’s relatively young. A quote in the Wall Street Journal by B&N Chairman Leonard Riggio  — brother of the 55-year-old CEO being replaced by Lynch — speaks volumes:

We need someone who has a vision of the new space, somebody who can recruit great people in technology. We have to be more than a retail bookseller.

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The plot thickens: Barnes & Noble preparing e-reader for iPad

March 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Barnes & Noble, which already has e-reader apps for various platforms, including the iPhone, announced on its blog yesterday that it is preparing to roll out an app designed for the forthcoming iPad. On the surface, this might seem counterintuitive. Could the bookseller be surrendering, and acknowledging that Nook, its own e-reader, isn’t doing too well?

But here’s why it makes a lot of sense: Like the rest of us, B&N has heard and seen and felt the hype. Apple’s iPad is coming — the day before Easter! — and despite its apparent shortcomings, people are going to buy it. And B&N could crawl under a hole with a Nook and pretend the iPad doesn’t exist, or it could sell books on the thing and make money. In the nascent e-reader world, it’s probably smart not to put all your books in one basket — unless you were there first, like Amazon, or you have a cult-like following, like Apple.

What remains to be seen is whether notoriously prickly Apple will like the idea of a competitor making it easy for iPad users to choose where they buy their e-books. Just ask Palm: When the Palm Pre first rolled out with the ability to download songs from iTunes, Apple updated iTunes so it couldn’t sync with the Pre. When Pre engineers fixed the “bug,” Apple blocked it again. And again. It’s entirely possible Apple won’t play nice with Barnes & Noble and its e-reader app for the iPad.

E-readers, chapter 2

January 29, 2010 Leave a comment

A few points to follow up on after the release of the iPad:

  • Where does the Nook, Barnes & Noble’s new e-reader, fit into the iPad vs. Kindle fight? The Nook came out late last year, but few people got their hands on one because of shipping delays. Many people who ordered didn’t get them in time for the holidays. In fact, from what I can tell, some customers probably didn’t get their Nooks till a couple of weeks ago. That’s not enough time for the Nook to gain traction, although with B&N’s huge library of titles — and the fact that people are supposed to be able to try them out at the bookstores (I intend to) — it could. Early reviews seemed mostly favorable, with the Nook scoring some points over the Kindle, but many reviewers still give Amazon’s device an edge. Now the iPad is likely to take some potential Nook buyers away.

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