Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Killing the Nook?

My first long-term job was working in the inventory department at a local Borders Bookstore. I really got a feel for the publishing world there, and perhaps it helped spark my interest to one day become published.  I remember a decision by the Borders CEO which was shared with local stores. Borders refused to get involved in eBooks at all, claiming it was a "fad" that would go nowhere. Two years later, eBooks were more popular than ever, and Borders was gone.

Now, Barnes and Noble has come to a similar juncture. The last large-scale brick and mortar bookstore chain has just hired a new CEO (Ron Boire) who's chief focus is to cut losses on Nook, which has been suffering financially. There are possible plans to discontinue Barnes and Noble's eBook and electronic divisions entirely.

Barnes and Noble has been discussing separating Nook from its bookstore divisions since December, when Microsoft and Nook parted ways, amidst financial turmoil. The eReader has been doing poorly for over two years, according to the NY Times.  In the same article, James McQuivey at Forrester Research is quoted as saying "You're only managing how quickly it [Barnes and Noble] will continue to decline." 

Is this the end of the last major bookstore chain?

In reading analyst's comments, I'm surprised by how many claim Barnes and Noble made a mistake getting into the eBook market initially. Let's not forget their ONE serious rival, who refused to embrace eBooks at all. If Barnes and Noble abandons eBooks, will it survive long-term? It's depressingly easy to envision a world where the only print books available for purchase come from the internet....