Barnes & Nobles latest profit warning for their nook hardware division means the future of the device is looking bleak.
The group are warning that their third quarter results due out on Thursday will show even greater losses in the nook division than last year.
B&N did always have the advantage of bricks and mortar stores as a means of getting their ereaders into the hands of customers, but it looks like that wasn’t enough. Free in-shop browsing on your nook might sound attractive to readers, but in reality it just took away sales from the stores themselves.
The nook hardware has had fans from the start. Reviewers like its high quality screen, and its Android based (but reskinned) operating system is friendly enough. The problem isn’t so much that the nook is bad, more that it is competing in a market where dedicated ereaders are increasingly taking a back seat to fully functional tablets – chiefly Apple’s all conquering iPad.
According to a report in the New York Times, B&N are looking to get out of hardware and look at leveraging the nook brand by building partnerships with other players, perhaps Samsung (who have no ereading offering of their own), or even Microsoft, who are already invested to the tune of $600 million.
If the nook is eventually killed off, the ereading ecosystem will be reduced to three major players with combined hardware and storefronts – Amazon, Apple, and Kobo.