The bad news just keeps piling up for that venerable, big-box purveyor of print – Barnes & Noble. We have been hearing for quite some time about the chain’s falling sales and revenue figures. Now, the news is reporting on layoffs and funding cuts to its Nook eReader division. Et tu, dear Nook?
I have been a Nook fan since Barnes & Noble first entered the eReader market. From its sleek styling and minimalist esthetic to its user-friendly interface and design, I had long preferred it to the devices from other makers like Amazon, Sony, and Kobo which I found clunckier in every way. I never understood whether it was timing or marketing that seemed to keep the Nook tucked quietly in Amaznon’s Kindle shadow. I was sure this would be the silver bullet that could save Barnes & Noble from the fate of so many other brick and mortar booksellers.
Now it appears that my crystal ball may have been cracked. The Kindle seems to be cornering the market on sales and satisfaction. Its own design elements have finally begun to surpass those of the once superior Nook. The news of funding cuts to the division that innovates and supports Barnes & Noble’s eReader sound more like nails being driven into the coffin than smart management decisions. Just last week, I traded in my own well-loved machine for a beautiful, new Kindle Paperwhite. And guess what? I love it! I have fallen in love with eReaders all over again. I also shed a little tear for the end of my Nook love affair.
With the news also talking of a decline in the overall demand for eBooks, it will be interesting to see where the market is actually going. Sadly, I fear Barnes & Noble has missed its opportunity here. But after my last failing, I am reluctant to make any further predictions on the future of eReaders and eBooks. Instead, I would love to hear from you. Are you using an eReader device or an eReader app? Take our poll!
– John DiGilio