When I was putting together my list of exhibitors to see at CES, Barnes & Noble was near the top (in the B’s). I can’t recall that they’ve ever been an exhibitor at CES before, so I was curious about what their booth would contain.
B&N had a prime location in the main lobby, but would you believe I couldn’t find their booth? I’m not kidding; I passed through the lobby twice looking over people’s heads for either a giant Nook HD or Nook signs and I didn’t see anything.
Luckily for me Carly Z of Gear Diary was more persistent and she found the Barnes & Noble booth:
No, you’re not missing anything; there’s no sign that B&N is in the ereader business. The only reason B&N was at CES was to promote the recently published nonfiction title Ninja Innovation (by Gary Shapiro, the head of CES).
Barnes & Noble has a booth at one of the best locations on the show floor of the world’s largest gadget trade show and they don’t have a single gadget on display. They literally have tens of thousands of people passing by their booth everyday and they don’t have a Nook to show off.
What makes this even worse is that B&N was at the Pepcom Digital Experience show Monday night. That is an unaffiliated 1-night show which serves a much smaller audience with only the press allowed in, and B&N had a complete booth’s worth of Nook gear to show off.
But they didn’t bring any of it to the main event, CES 2013. Are they trying to commit suicide?
At this point that is no longer a rude question; while I am a firm believer in Hanlon’s razor (never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity), there comes a point when stupidity is no longer an adequate explanation.
CES 2013 is that point.