Nook Media to Release New Nook for Kids Android App This Summer

Nabi Barnes & Noble’s year end financial report is due out tomorrow, so today they are sending out press releases today in the hopes of creating a positive buzz. I was planning to ignore the press releases (I’ve gotten 2 so far), but it turns out that one is actually newsworthy.

B&N-Nook Media has announced plans to release a new Nook for Kids app this summer. According to the press release, it’s currently under development in partnership with Fuhu, makers of the Nabi line of Kid’s tablets.

There aren’t many details available yet on this app, but the press release does mention that this app will be compliant with COPPA, and that the app is scheduled to ship on Fuhu’s Nabi Android tablets, including the Nabi Jr., Nabi 2 and Nabi XD, later this Summer. Those tablets will also ship with the regular Nook for Android app.

Details are sketchy at this point, but it looks to me like B&N is expanding upon the work they’ve put into the Nook HD and HD+. Those tablets are designed with parent and child accounts, with the latter accounts restricted to only a limited access of the web, Nook Store, and content.

Or at least I would hope that the new Nook for Kids Android app will be tied into existing development efforts; that should save it from the fate of B&N’s other Nook for Kids app. B&N launched a Nook Kids app for the iPad and iPhone in January 2011 and then stopped updating it in July 2011.

Speaking of which, that’s not the only app that B&N appears to have abandoned. While their main iOS and Android apps are getting regular updates, NookStudy, Nook for Mac, and Nook for PC haven’t been updated since August 2012, March 2012, and December 2011, respectively. (Also, Nook Video was supposed to have gotten a stand-alone app, but 9 months later it is no where to be found.)

In this day and age those dates aren’t evidence of a long development cycle; they’re a sign that the apps are no longer under development. Let’s hope the Nook for Kids Android app doesn’t suffer the same fate.

In recent weeks B&N has extended the sale on Nook HD and Nook HD+, with the 7″ Nook HD tablet selling for $130. That deep discount (35%) could be a sign that B&N plans to abandon their hardware and focus on an app strategy.

Given that B&N has also pulled back on app development I am no longer sure that is the case.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Kevin Eagan24 June, 2013

    I’m confused by B&N’s latest moves with the Nook. It’s either a shift in strategy or, as you suggested earlier, an attempt to begin selling off the Nook division. We’ll see what comes of it. Thanks for the info! –Kevin

    1. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2013

      I frankly don’t understand it either. Switching to an app strategy could work, if only B&N was still working on the apps. But pulling back on everything is a sign that they’re cutting their losses.

      1. steve24 June, 2013

        It be expensive, supporting all those apps on different OSes. Obviously they’re going to have to pick and choose going forward.

        1. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2013

          Amazon and Kobo seem to manage it just fine.

          1. Kevin Eagan24 June, 2013

            And they’re successful at it.

          2. steve24 June, 2013

            Since neither the Kindle nor the Kobo’s parent companies break out their results separately, that is strictly a matter of conjecture.

            1. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2013

              That doesn’t matter.

              The important point here is that to be competitive in the ebook market a first-tier vendor needs to develop apps for all the major platforms, and hang the expense. B&N has given up on supporting all platforms, and that is arguably a sign that they’re not making the same investment they used to.

          3. steve24 June, 2013

            I made a statement: it is financially burdensome to support all those apps. NOOK is clearly emphasizing their webreader. That is the logic of their decision.

            Whether you agree with it or not, it’s not difficult to understand.

            1. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2013
    2. steve24 June, 2013

      This is a shift in strategy. They’re starting to emphasize turning other people’s tablets into storefronts for their content. I like this deal. The Fuhu Nabi appears to be selling very well; and children’s tablets are only just beginning to emerge as a market niche. Selling kid’s books over the Nabi seems like a nice fit.

      I’m willing to guess this deal involves giving Fuhu a cut of Nook sales over this device; but it seems worth it to bring those customers into the ecosystem. I’d like to see them win over some of the other kid’s tablets in coming weeks, Leapfrog, Innotab, V-tech.

      1. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2013

        Except it’s not exactly new. The other press release today touted a deal with Android tablet maker E-Fun. That deal was actually struck in mid to late 2012, and Nook apps have been shipped on E-Fun tablets since (at least) December 2012.

        1. steve24 June, 2013

          I didn’t say anything they’re doing is unprecedented. The word I used was “emphasize”. They’re emphasizing software over their hardware.

          For example, selling content over the iOS app, which they didn’t do before.

          I think the Fuhu deal is a much bigger deal. They’re developing a kids app specifically for Fuhu’s Nabi line of tablets.

          1. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2013

            “For example, selling content over the iOS app, which they didn’t do before.”

            I’m not going to beleive B&N is actually going to sell content inside the iOS app until it actually happens. Right now that is simply an unfounded rumor from proven liars.

          2. fjtorres24 June, 2013

            Apple might have something to say about that violation of their guidelines. They would love for an excuse to delist the Nook app from iTunes.
            Of course, maybe Nook intends to force Apple’s hand so they can them sue them for restraint of trade. But if they can’t afford programmers I doubt they can afford lawyers. 🙂

            1. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2013

              According to the rumor B&N is negotiating a reduced vig.

  2. Brian24 June, 2013

    They also appear to have abandoned putting out the Nook Video app that they said was coming when the HD & HD+ came out. Heard anything about that one?

    1. Nate Hoffelder24 June, 2013

      I noticed that as well when I did the survey of B&N’s apps. I have not heard anything about when it will be released, and I don’t think it will be.

  3. Victoria25 June, 2013

    The idea of the app is really great, I just hope that this time they will not abandon it – becuase the tablets for kids with all options needed for parent to feel safe is a big move forward

  4. Michael1 July, 2013

    I just got a Nook HD + last week and for the most part I think its wonderful. Especially for the $169.00 price I paid. However I am learning that there are so many Apps that will not install on the Nook HD+. In fact these apps will not even show up when I search for them in the Google Play Store on the Nook HD+. But when I do the same search on my desktop computer these apps are in the google play store. So Barns and Noble must be blocking them for some dumb reason.

    Just some examples

    Shazam APP
    GusBuddy APP
    MLB At Bat APP
    Some local Philadelphia News Apps like 6ABC, NBC10.

    And lots more but I am not going to post all of them.

    Is there any chance at all that barns and noble will allow these kind of apps to install in the future?

    This is really a bummer!

    I have heard at the N2A cards and that seems like the work around for this issue. But we should not have to but one of those card just to use these apps!!

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