While most of the world was being entertained by Seth MacFarlane at the Academy Awards (Oscars) the New York Times published an article insinuating that Barnes & Noble will be ceasing their NOOK eReader Device development after what is considered to be a failed Holiday season.
Considering the substantial investment that Barnes & Noble has made, the investment by Microsoft, and the addition of Pearson Publishing‘s recent investment (pre-Holiday 2012 season) in NOOK Media, this news is kind of a shocker… although not an entirely unexpected option.
While there will undoubtedly be analysis and debate surrounding this, I wanted to offer my opinion as why the NOOK has failed to appeal to the masses along the same lines as the Kindle and Kindle Fire. Considering that both devices have similar specs with software available to consume the content across all platforms, it really boils down (in my opinion) to one specific area.
Sure, Barnes & Noble has all the big publishers offering their wares for Nook readers… at the publisher’s price that usually is above the $10.00 mark. Sure, they have the PubIt system that allows independent publishers to publish their ebooks… but really very few ways to spread the word. Sure, they have apps for their Nook Tablet… but really there’s not much there that can’t be gotten on another device. Oh, and just out of curiosity, has anyone heard of any affiliate program with them? Because I know I sure haven’t.
All of these factors, centered around the content, are the reasons I see B&N failing in this space. What does this mean for those of us who are on a self-publishing path? Not much changes.
Amazon remains the most viable option with apps across all platforms, which surprisingly is something B&N also did but was unable to gain any traction which almost goes to further prove my point. Kobo is an up and comer, and let’s be honest… iBooks may seem a bit intimidating with its formatting but there are AMAZING things you can do with it.
I don’t see this as a negative to self-publishers… I see this as the thinning of the device herd. Nothing more, nothing less.