I don’t get this. I don’t get this at all. NOOK is Barnes and Noble’s flagship device. It’s how they plan to push for ebook dominance. So why are they selling their flagship device through a competitor AND with the competitor’s store preloaded?
Books A Million is the third largest bookstore in the country, behind B&N and Borders. As far as I can tell, there’s no business connection between B&N and BAM beyond the NOOKcolor. Unless this is some bizarre foreplay before B&N makes a merger play for BAM I don’t see the benefit for either party. NOOK is a brand name that’s heavily associated with Barnes and Noble, so diluting it doesn’t help B&N’s cause. And selling a competitor’s product is just confusing for BAM’s customers.
What really throws me for a bit of a loop is that there’s plenty of alternatives for Books A Million if they want to expand their ebook offerings. Commission a halfway decent Android tablet, strike a deal with one of the many, many eInk ereaders out there, or if you really need or want commercial appeal call Sony! They’re probably sweating bullets over the increased competition at Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart and would love a chance to be showcased. It just doesn’t add up for me why they would use the NOOK brand.
And I really don’t see what B&N gets out of it. Are they so hard up for cash that selling some hardware is making the difference? B&N isn’t going to get any ongoing sales from these NOOKs. No one who buys books for these is going to get those books from their NOOK apps on their phones, and try explaining THAT to an irate customer. Or will Books A Million also want to put a NOOK app on your smartphone? NOOK by Books A Million AND NOOK by Barnes and Noble? This isn’t confusing at all… See below for B&N’s clarification.
The full press release is below, and I’ve reached out to Barnes and Noble to see if they have any comments on the arrangement.
Edit: I heard back from Barnes and Noble, and they’ve clarified it for me. The Books A Million NOOK will be linked to the Barnes and Noble Store. Users will log in using their B&N ID, and they will have access to all the in-store extras at all Barnes and Noble stores that any other NOOK would have. Essentially, the Books A Million NOOK will be a B&N NOOK sold at BAM. Once it’s in the customer’s hands, it’s just like any other B&N NOOK.
Books-A-Million, Inc. today announced that the new NOOKcolor is available to pre-order for $249 online at www.booksamillion.com/nook and is expected to begin shipping November 19, making it the perfect holiday gift for people who love to read everything.
The newly announced NOOKcolor and award-winning NOOK 3G and Wi-Fi devices, the most full-featured E Ink(R) dedicated reading devices, will be available at all Books-A-Million stores November 19. In Books-A-Million stores, NOOK products will be featured at special in-store displays that include demonstration units for customers to see, hold and try.
“We wanted to capitalize on the amazing growth in digital content, and the NOOK line became the clear choice to bring our customers a superior offering of easy-to-use, beautifully designed eReading products,” said Craig Hansen, President of Booksamillion.com. “We’re thrilled to give Books-A-Million customers a way to read all the books, magazines and newspapers they love at home and on the go.”
NOOKcolor — The Ultimate Reading Experience
NOOKcolor is the first full-color touch device dedicated to reading everything and built on Android(TM), it opens up a whole new world of digital reading materials of all kinds, in addition to providing access to the largest bookstore with an unprecedented selection of over two million digital titles a single search away. Digital content — from bestsellers to favorite magazines in full color, and interactive children’s picture books and enhanced cookbooks — has never looked better than on NOOKcolor’s stunning 7-inch VividView(TM) Color Touchscreen.
The newest addition to the NOOK device family was designed for people who love to read every kind of content imaginable — and features 8GB of space, plus expandable memory, to store it all. NOOKcolor enables quick and easy shopping and book downloads in seconds over Wi-Fi(R). NOOKcolor is also the most social reading device ever built — with NOOKfriends(TM) technology, you’re only touches away from sharing with friends via Facebook(R), Twitter(R) and e-mail.
NOOKcolor’s Vast Array of Digital Content
NOOKcolor offers all the content you love, at your fingertips, experienced like never before, through the newly expanded NOOKbook(TM) Store.
Shop over two million titles: NOOKcolor provides access to the most expansive digital catalog available so you can browse more than two million books, enhanced books, newspapers and magazines, engaging children’s books, and other interactive content in a single search. NOOKnewsstand(TM) — periodicals in vivid color: From The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA TODAY to Rolling Stone, Esquire, US Weekly, National Geographic, Martha Stewart Living, Cosmopolitan and Elle, NOOKcolor customers will find an impressive and growing list of the best daily, weekly and monthly periodicals, all optimized for the device in rich color. Magazine reading is easy and engaging with full-color pages and ArticleView(TM) puts the focus on the content, customized to your favorite reading style. Periodicals, available by subscription and single copy, will continue to become even more interactive next year. NOOK kids(TM) experience: For the first time ever, enjoy the largest collection of popular children’s picture and chapter books in an engaging digital form through the new NOOK kids offering. Through exclusive AliveTouch(TM) technology, your child can interact with words and pictures, easily find a favorite story, and even have some read aloud to them. Enjoy a broad and growing selection of more than 130 digital picture books — an unprecedented offering that will double before year’s end — and nearly 12,000 chapter books for children, plus exciting enhancements coming soon. Enhanced and engaging titles: Coming soon, NOOKcolor customers will also enjoy a growing collection of multimedia titles offering instructive video and audio to learn about travel, cooking, music and more. Great reads, great prices: The vast majority of titles in the NOOKbook Store are $9.99 or less, including most current New York Times Bestsellers
eReading Gets (More) Social
NOOKcolor makes it simple and reflexive to get social about reading. In another industry first, the new LendMe(TM) App enables NOOKcolor users to view LendMe books in their friends’ NOOKcolor digital libraries and request to borrow a title they’ve been meaning to read. Customers have the ability to easily lend their favorite NOOKbooks with friends through Facebook and e-mail, even using their imported Google(R) Gmail(TM) contacts, and recommend a title, share reading status or a quote via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.
Your Reading Experience, Your Way
NOOKcolor was designed to be flexible and highly customizable, so each customer can truly make it his or her own.
Simply more than a touch of fun: Everything you want to do is simple and intuitive. Shopping for new content, finding and reading titles in your library and customizing the way you view your content are all a touch or two away. With a simple tap of the screen or swipe left or right, book pages turn in a flash. Personalized reading experience: Experience the flexibility and fun of completely customizing your reading experience. Choose what titles will appear on your home page and Daily Shelf(TM), organize and view your library your way, find the right text type, size and color theme that’s right for you, and read in portrait or landscape. All your content at your fingertips: Your entire library is always a touch away with 8GB of memory. That’s approximately 6,000 NOOKbooks or a combination that might include 1,000 books, 25 full-color magazines, 10 newspapers, 50 kids’ books, 500 songs and 150 photos. Plus, NOOKcolor has expandable memory using a microSD(TM) card. And with Lifetime Library(TM), existing customers of NOOK products and software-enabled devices will instantly be able to access their personal digital libraries on NOOKcolor. NOOKbook Personal Shopping(TM): Exclusive, personalized book recommendations are available from expert booksellers, based on the genres, authors and subjects you like. View your personal files: Transfer and view personal PDF and ePub files to NOOKcolor, as well as JPG, PNG, GIF and BMP files, and use personal photos for wallpaper. With Quickoffice(R) software, view Microsoft(R) Office files including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Punctuate your style: Read in style with a full line of NOOKcolor accessories, including covers with rich Italian leathers, European broad cloth and more from leading designers kate spade new york, JACK SPADE and Jonathan Adler coming soon.
Attractive Design & Features
NOOKcolor’s elegantly simple design in classic graphite features an angled lower corner that evokes a turned page, along with a beaded border and lustrous, soft-touch back that make holding NOOKcolor comfortable and pleasurable. No other full-color touch reading device is thinner or more beautiful.
VividView Color Touchscreen: NOOKcolor features a best-in-class 7-inch color touch display like nothing you’ve ever seen before, particularly on a dedicated reading device. The screen displays more than 16 million colors and offers a wide viewing angle for personal or shared reading. The special design provides enhanced color tuning, gradation and reduction of glare to reduce distracting reflections. Wi-Fi connectivity: Easily connect to personal and public Wi-Fi hotspots to purchase eBooks, download content in seconds, surf the Web, stream music and more. Lightweight and portable: The compact device fits easily into your purse, jacket or bag at 8.1 inches (height) by 5 inches (width) by 0.48 inches (depth) and 15.8 ounces.
And Even More Extras
NOOKcolor offers many extras with fun and useful additions to the reading experience.
Game on: Enjoy fun and free games on NOOKcolor, including crossword puzzles, Sudoku, chess and many more to come. Listen to music while reading: Stream tunes from your favorite artists over Wi-Fi with Pandora(R) internet radio’s free, personalized music service. And load your MP3 and AAC songs to enjoy music while reading anywhere using the built in 3.5mm headphone jack or speakers. Surf the Web: Over Wi-Fi, use a full browser to visit your favorite Web sites, check e-mail, and more.
NOOKcolor customers can also use the included USB cable to connect their device to a PC or Mac to transfer their personal files in ePub, PDF and PDB formats to their NOOKcolor. Based on an open platform and Adobe technology partnership, customers can transfer and read personal files that utilize Adobe’s latest digital rights management or are rights-free. The NOOKcolor’s use of Adobe technology and ePub format also allows customers to read their digital content across a growing universe of devices.