I read with interest Jeremy Greenfield’s article on the Digital Book World Website: Did the Death of Agency Pricing for Ebooks Kill Nook?
I happen to agree with Mr. Greenfield that the competition and the removal of the Agency model were contributing factors, but I think the Nook was a thinking man’s reader in a gamer’s world. (And I do not imply that Gamers are not thinkers, they are!)
“Once I built a Railroad…”
The Nook was constructed and researched to be a reading device that would enhance the marketing capabilities of Barnes & Noble, but the competition readers were not solely readers at all, and in this arena a hybrid can get much more traction in the marketplace then a mono-functional device. Now, the newer iterations of the Nook have a much wider spectrum of functions and uses, but that first meeting with the public was not the impression they wanted to make, and you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Now that Len Riggio has announced that B & N will not be purchasing the physical stores in the B & N inventory of locations, it appears that the hemorrhaging cash flow situation has taken a much more catastrophic turn for the company then it had originally appeared to be showing. The way that B & N can stay vital is to look to the Independent Bookstore model and start imitating the steps that all of the Indie Bookstores have gone through to remain viable and resilient in cash flow profitability.
The partnership with Microsoft would be an incredible boon for Barnes & Noble to stay in the game. If Microsoft can supply the R & D on the Nook Apps now and into the future, then the reader will become superfluous and only the App will be necessary to download books from the B&N catalogue. I’ve heard that talks on this subject were tabled in the late spring, and no word has been forthcoming since roughly late April. Since Microsoft has a 17% interest in the Nook anyway, the cash inflow would be useful in propping up the brick and mortar structures and even get Riggio to reconsider his reluctance to buy the locations outright. Also, these locations (ala Borders) seem to Morph into Halloween stores for 3 months and then sit vacant. Exactly how many Halloween stores does the public need at any given time?
The Winners WILL Take it ALL!
Right now, Riggio needs to swallow his pride and admit that this cash blood-letting cannot continue and new partners and ventures need to be brought into the mix. Staying with the same way of doing business will mean more Halloween stores and less Barnes & Noble stores in any geographic location. Take the wheel and spin the ship away from the iceberg. You have a great business mind, look closely at your model and push what works and discard what is not working. Look outside the cast of characters who are presently in the line-up and do something completely out of the ordinary that no one would expect. Add products, add services, add entertainment in the locations but keep thinking differently so that your brick and mortar locations do not end up closed and boarded up.
Get the MESSAGE…
We like going to B & N, just like we like going to the Tattered Cover and The King’s English. We want viable distribution points for print products and more. Listen to your customers and think differently to keep this company in the game. We want you to succeed and be a portal for our reading adventures for many years to come into the future.
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