When they saw all the sales happening from people rooting the NookColor, they should have capitalized on that. They had the hottest seven-inch tablet at that time and would have cleaned up. The Kindle Fire — which came later — would have faced some tough competition and Barnes & Noble would have been able to mock Amazon for its locked-down device.
Just like writers can’t have all the money, neither can Barnes & Noble.
The best they can hope for now is creating good will with their customers by changing to open Android hardware and letting people use Google Play for apps and any damn music and video services they want. Barnes & Noble shouldn’t be in the business of apps, music, or video. They are booksellers.
When Jobs returned to Apple, he simplified the product lines. Consumer/Business and Notebook/Desktop.
Barnes & Noble should shrink to two: eInk/Color.
eInk is worth one more go. A slim six-incher with open Android, so it’s the world’s first eInk reader and tablet. Just look at the press an impractical eInk phone is getting today. An eInk reader/tablet is practical. Yes, it could run the Kindle app, but so what? That’s what tablets do. This is a niche Barnes & Noble would own. And they need something to own.
Color, shrink the line down to one model: The seven-inch Nook HD, with just one internal storage size (take your pick). But discontinue it in 2014. Leave color devices to the experts. Barnes & Noble did some really good hardware, but locking it down was suicidal and the world has changed too much. Amazon will eventually hit a wall with their hardware sales too. They’re next. And they know it, which is why their Kindle app incorporates features from their eInk Kindle.
And use those storefronts.
Today on the webcast, William Lynch tried to snow Wall Street today on the value of their e-publication (books and magazines) inventory. Face facts: Anyone can do that. Sure it’s work, but so what? Kobo has done it. So have Apple and Google. And what no one mentioned was the store set up by publishers themselves: Bookish. If the publishers wake up — and they have lots of failures to learn from now — they won’t need Barnes & Noble.
So this is where the storefronts come in.
As I told Sony ages ago, writers don’t need publishers. Bookstores are not selling slabs of print. They are selling writing and writers.
Use those storefronts to pimp PubIT! Get the writers in your inventory, as Amazon has done with KDP.
Hold sessions that teach writers how they can create for and publish their books on PubIT. That’s a strategic advantage that Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Google cannot match. No print publisher can match it, either. Why hasn’t this been done from the start? I don’t know. But it needs to be done now. Nook Media can have books that Barnes & Noble will never have — because they are e-only.
And, finally, drop the mutant DRM and use standard Adobe DRM. Welcome all eBook buyers. Without this, forget everything else.