B&N to Launch the Nook in the UK This Fall

Barnes & Noble might have missed their chance to get either WHSmith or Waterstones as a local partner, but apparently that merely delayed their UK expansion, it didn't put the kibosh on it. They've just added this page to their website:

There's also an attached press release, and it says that B&N will be selling their own ebooks at nook.co.uk. The Nook devices will be sold via retail stores. There's no mention of a bookstore partner, but as I've said B&N has already missed out on their best chances. So instead of having a bookstore push their hardware, B&N is going to have to rely on retail giants like Tesco. And thus my prediction from back in April came true.

B&N will be selling all of their digital content via the new site, including both apps, ebooks, and enhanced ebooks, and that finally confirms why B&N was recruiting Android developers in London back in March and publishers in April. But of course, we already guessed the outcome. You'll also be able to order  all 4 current Nook devices via the website as well. There's no news on price, but Barnes & Noble specifically states that they'll be launching in the UK in mid-October. Later in the press release they confirm that the ebookstore will open in middle of autumn.

The UK is B&N's first step in their plans to expand into 10 countries over the next year. Their self-imposed deadline is June 2012, and since it won't be open until October, Barnes & Noble is leaving this rather late. Amazon already has a UK patsy partner, and even Kobo managed to sign up a UK bookseller to promote their ebookstore. What's more, Apple and the Google Bookstore have a presence in Great Britain as well.

At this rate B&N is running out of potential partners as well as countries where they won't face stiff opposition. But on the upside, B&N already has an install base of some unknown number of Nook owners. at least some of whom will be pleased when B&n lets them buy ebooks legitimately.

About Nate Hoffelder (11371 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on B&N to Launch the Nook in the UK This Fall

  1. B&N made this announcement and press release today because tomorrow they are going to announce first quarter sales results (May 1 to Jul 31).

    Flash back one year: in Aug 2011, Liberty Media gave the company $200 million in exchange for interest bearing notes that can be converted to shares at $17/sh. Then in May 2012, Microsoft stepped up with $300 million in cash for a 17% interest in the Nook and College store division (orphaning the 600+ retail stores); and there are follow-up paymetns against royalities of $330 million over the next five years.

    Today, the company is trading at $12/sh giving it an effective market value of a bit over $700 million. Will B&N impress with profits tomorrow? With a plan to break-up the company and allow the retail stores (which are profitable) to punt the money losing divisions to the curb? How much more outside funding needs to occur to put a floor under this stock?

    Stay tuned tomorrow!

  2. What’s interesting is this line:

    “Further product, pricing and availability details will be announced in the coming weeks.”

    This implies that the price may be different in the UK then it is in America.

    I’m not sure if this is the plan or not, but it would certainly make sense for Barnes and Noble to simply use Europe for all the “refurbished” inventory they currently sell on Overstock or Ebay. Moving those sort of sales overseas, where there is no current nook market, might not give them meaningful market share- but it would prevent self-cannibalizing the “replacement nook” market in the US.

    It also may be illegal to do this. But that really never stops anyone.

  3. Bringing an unknown brand into a market that’s already pretty comfortable with its Kindles and iPads, at the same time as the possible iPad Mini. I think B&N needs to have some pretty amazing edge up its sleeve, or this will fall flat.

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