Nook Shutters Luxembourg Office, Withdraws Nook Windows 8 App – An International Retreat?

3074499444_05843c0797_bWhen B&N first started opening offices in Europe in 2012 it was a sign that B&N soon intended to compete in the global ebook market. Fast forward three years, and we have the news that B&N has shut down its operations in Luxembourg, is that a sign that they've given up on that goal?

The Bookseller (paywall'd) reported yesterday that Barnes & Noble’s office in Luxembourg has been liquidated. B&N confirmed the news to me, saying that:

We continue to operate our NOOK business in the U.K.  However, we no longer have a commercial partnership with Microsoft, and, as a result, we are transitioning away from our international business, based in Luxembourg. As we no longer have a commercial partnership with Microsoft, the Win8 app won’t be available in the international markets.

While this is a disappointment, it is not a surprise. B&N only announced its international expansion plans following the 2012 partnership with Microsoft. Outside of the US and UK the Nook store was only available via the Windows 8 app, leading me to speculate that the international store really belonged to Microsoft.

And now that we have B&N closing offices after buying out MS's share of Nook Media, it would seem I was half right.

So does this mean that B&N is giving up on international markets?

I think that is what is going to happen in the long run, yes, just not today.

B&N is still showing on its website that it supports the Windows 8 app in 30 countries. I also have a first-hand report that the app still works in the Netherlands.

Nevertheless, I still expect B&N to abandon its international customers. Thanks to the boneheaded decision to only support Windows 8, they never had very many in the first place(I had to ask 9 people in and around digital publishing to find one who could confirm the Nook Store was still open in Europe). And with digital revenue dropping to $41 million last quarter, B&N doesn't exactly have a good reason to keep the lights on anywhere except the US and UK, its two one and a half core ebook markets.

Of course, B&N could always decide to get serious and make its ebookstore available to all the world, but I frankly don't expect that to happen.

image by James Cridland

About Nate Hoffelder (11585 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."

6 Comments on Nook Shutters Luxembourg Office, Withdraws Nook Windows 8 App – An International Retreat?

  1. “B&N could always decide to get serious and make its ebookstore available to all the world, but I frankly don’t expect that to happen.”

    Given no other ebook store has managed to be available to all the world it’s a safe bet B&N is not going to be the first.

  2. I really thought Microsoft was going to buy B&N. I even thought they might do something with it. Now it looks like B&N is going to take a couple of decades to go the way of Radio Shack. I wonder why it’s so hard not to run a company into the ground?

  3. Nook announced the closure of the Luxembourg office in January. It was opened to access a single VAT rate for all EU sales, but the EU VAT rules changed on 1st January 2015 rendering the Luxembourg office pointless.

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Copyright Crises and Controversies | Digital Book World
  2. The Beginning of the End: B&N Shutters the International Nook Store | Ink, Bits, & Pixels
  3. B&N to Close Nook UK Store on 15 March, Will Hand Customers Off to Sainsbury's | The Digital Reader

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