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It’s Official: B&N Has Ended Support for Nook PC, Mac Apps

nook_logoA little over a month ago Barnes & Noble quietly removed any mention of their Nook for PC and Nook for Mac apps, and today they confirmed to me that the apps are no longer being supported.

When my competition reported several days ago that B&N had quietly removed any mention of the Nook for PC, Mac apps from the B&N website, I was one of many that were puzzled by this inexplicable move. This story has already gotten some coverage in the blogosphere, but I held off in the hopes that this was an error of some kind. Unfortunately that is not the case.

It seemed to make little sense for B&N to remove the apps without providing a true replacement. But as unlikely as it might sound, that is exactly what has happened.

Earlier today I received an email from B&N which confirms that both apps have been retired:

We are no longer supporting NOOK for PC for Windows 2000/XP/Vista. To enjoy the NOOK content on your PC please use the NOOK for Windows 8 App or NOOK for Web. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/nook-for-web/379003594/

B&N sent me the same statement concerning the Nook for Mac app, but I don't see a need to repeat it here.

TBH it should really come as no surprise. B&N stopped updating the PC app in November 2011 and the Mac app in March 2012 (according to the Wayback Machine at Archive.org).

That is over a year ago, meaning that the Mac app was already deadlined due to a lack of support for OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion. Also, there were no signs that either app supported all the content currently sold in the Nook Store. This now includes fixed layout ebooks (graphic novels, cookbooks, and other rich content), interactive children's books, and more. Basically the apps had already been abandoned long before they were removed from the B&N website.

But even with the knowledge that B&N had given up on the apps long ago, IMO this move is still a poor choice. Readers might be able to use Nook for Web but they won't be able to access all of their content. I just checked my Nook account and the majority of the ebooks I got from B&N are not compatible with Nook for Web. Of the first 120 titles listed in my account, a mere 32 could be read online.

Thrty-Two

I am lucky that I have alternate Nook apps and a Nook HD-, otherwise I would have lost access to something like 75% of the Nook ebooks I own (assuming I were dependent on the Windows app). Or at least it could cost me access to my purchased ebooks, and that brings me to B&N's other example of mismanagement.

You see, B&N goofed a second time in that they forgot to recommend their other reading app for OSX and Windows. It's called NookStudy, and it was launched in Summer 2010. NookStudy is more of a textbook app that a general purpose reading app, but it still reads all my Nook content and it is still available for OSX and Windows. At the very least it deserved a mention.

Update: A reader has told me that B&N has retired the support forums for NookStudy. That could be a sign that B&N is planning to get rid of that program as well. (Thanks, Tim!)

All in all, the manner in which B&N retired the Nook for PC and Nook for Mac app suggests that B&N doesn't care much about ebooks any more. They're not investing in the apps, they didn't make any effort to make sure the content is compatible with the replacement, and they didn't think to offer their other reading app for Windows and OSX.

At this point I am really hoping that the Microsoft buyout rumor is true, because B&N is cutting their losses. It looks to me like they are giving up, so I really really really hope that a white knight appears to rescue the Nook platform before B&N shuts it down completely.

48 Comments on It’s Official: B&N Has Ended Support for Nook PC, Mac Apps

  1. Err… Windows XP users can just use Google Chrome.

  2. Good point. Fixed it.

    Thanks!

  3. I think you mean white knight.

  4. I feel really sorry for all the people who foolishly bought a Nook. I’ve been telling people that B&N is going under and Nook is being dumped. Thank god I’m a loyal Amazon supporter and spent my money on Kindles. B&N will be gone like Borders very soon.

  5. This sort of thing is why I never “buy” anything with DRM. Sooner or later, the servers are shut off and you lose it. I never have to worry about losing the stuff I bought from Smashwords or Baen.

  6. B&N supporting Windows 8 is something they are contractually obligated to do.
    They took the money, they have to support it.

    Considering the quality of their support, keeping the apps available would’ve cost them nothing. It may be they are sending a message out there.
    Or they have a deal to sell out to Google. 😉

  7. 1. One of the advantages of B&N’s DRM is that you do not need any DRM server after downloading a book once. The encryption is completely enclosed within the E-book file. You can just copy the E-book file to as many compatible devices as you want to, as many times as you want to, no DMR server needed.
    2. The current version of Adobe Digital Editions also supports the B&N DRM, and can be used to read B&N ebooks on PC and Mac.

  8. Thanks for the reminder about Adobe DE. I forgot.

  9. flyingtoastr // 11 June, 2013 at 2:40 pm //

    Except, you know, how BN is still a profitable company. But don’t let little things like facts get in the way of your brown-nosing!

  10. It’s interesting that you mentioned NookStudy as a still viable alternative. B&N dumped the NookStudy Q&A forums into the archives a few days ago. You can no longer make new posts. I doubt that NookStudy will be around much longer.

  11. Chris, thank you so much for sharing your expert knowledge on the future of B&N. It’s people like you that are contributing to the hardship that neighborhood Barnes & Noble stores are facing by shopping with a company whose only interest is in monopolizing every industry that they sink their tentacles into. B&N is not perfect by any means. But they provide a mind-enriching service to the adults and children of their local communities.

  12. The same can be said of the thousands of neighborhood indie bookstore that B&N and Borders put out of business.
    And the thousands that survived the warehouse era.
    B&N fading is hardly much of a disaster, just as the Borders implosion wasn’t the end of the world.

  13. And people wonder why Amazon destroys B&N in ebooks.

    Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing that shows that some companies are too stupid to survive.

  14. From Mobileread:
    http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2540705&postcount=52

    If true, “ending support” is more than not letting people download new copies of the apps.

  15. B&N certainly didn’t care about the three indie bookstores that it put out of business in my town (one of which I worked at for years). My schadenfreude knows no bounds…

  16. B&N restored the links for the W7 and Mac apps. They’re a mass of indecision, it seems.

  17. I fear, B&N’s heart simply isn’t into ebooks. Early last December, I released digital versions of Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments. Sent directly, Amazon made it available overnight while Apple took about a week. The other retailers (Kobo, Sony etc) supplied through Smashwords took a week or so with the exception of B&N. It didn’t even download the file from Smashwords for over a month.

    Being a month behind everyone else in releasing new ebooks isn’t the way to win readers.

  18. I suspect it’s just easier for them to support a reader on a web browser and it has the added advantage of taking us through their website where we may shop for more books.

    The product I support for IBM was originally a stand-alone product and eventually our developers created a web-based product that was faster and easier to use. Modern software developers like to do everything on the web.

    I also suspect there are marketing reasons – if I had a laptop I would probably use Nook for PC rather than spend the money on a nook. The web version is not bad, good for reading sometimes when I’m sitting at my desk and re-charging the nook.

  19. michael senkinc // 28 June, 2013 at 10:52 pm //

    I can personally attest Adobe Digital Editions Can Not Open B&N ebooks. (at least on mac osx lion) I can open epub and epdf books that I have downloaded from the public library but not 1 single book I purchased on B&N. I can see them in my nook library alright but not open them at all. I can not even see the title of the book or author only “a string of numbers[1-9] the word epub a version number v.[1-6] .epub extension.

  20. Shelly Nelson // 2 July, 2013 at 1:43 pm //

    I ADORE Baen!!

  21. The reason for reading books on a computer to to have a window open for quotes while writing academic papers using word processors that have formatting for a particular type of documentation format. This is difficult with books that have not retained page formatting with their paper version, but it is still workable and easier than using the paper version. It also allow searching for pithy quotes by keyword. It is much easier than reading it on a smaller device.

  22. I’m not upset by the loss of the Mac app. The fact is that we are in the post PC world and how many people read books on their computer? I had the Nook app, but probably only opened it 2-3 times period. A computer is not a good book reading device. I use my Nook app on my iPad and have several books in various stages of completion. I think people read too much into their tea leaves. While BN has it’s faults, remember the others do to. As a Amazon Prime members I can’t read the books I can borrow without a Kindle. Apple is adding iBooks to OS X 10.9, but I have to wonder how much it will actually be used. It will be helpful as part of a work flow, but otherwise, I’ll read my books and magazines on my iPad.

  23. And yet there is a nook app for Windows 8.

  24. …and now Nook Study appears to be dead on OS 10.9 Mavericks. At least, it errors off for me after 5-6 seconds.

  25. I wish I could say I was surprised.

  26. Jose Adnel Rodriguez // 5 November, 2013 at 6:05 pm //

    Que mala decisión, espero que se arrepientan, están perdiendo un gran mercado!

  27. Lately I’ve been reading fiction on my nook and tech books on my desktop PC browser with my B&N account. The tech books are easier to read on a browser. I think the only mistake B&N made is trying to get into the computer business (too expensive and extremely competitive). Now that they have a plan to let somebody else build the tablets they should do well.

  28. ShojoBakunuy // 12 March, 2014 at 5:08 pm //

    So, you’re honestly saying that Amazon is better than B&N in terms of hardware and ebooks? Amazon’s policy of forced advertising, revocation of legally purchased content, be it ebooks or video, and their DMR Policies are draconian to say the least. Even if B&N goes under, as an Android device, I can jailbreak my nook and keep using it until I wear out the hardware.

    As for the “B&N are going under”, as the other poster said, don’t let facts get in the way of your paranoid narrative.

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