Ever the master of mixed messages, in the past week Barnes & Noble laid off staff at their ebook division while at the same time they signed a deal with a Brazilian ebook firm.
Raquel Cozer, writing for Folha de Sao Paolo, reported late last week that the Brazilian ebook distributor Xeriph was catching the interest of their publisher partners with hints of Barnes & Noble.
Xeriph has sent out a new contract addendum to the 280 Brazilian publishers they work with, advising them of a new distribution channel. According to the email, the publishers can now elect to distribute their ebooks to the Nook Store.
At this time the Nook Store stocks a rather paltry 4400 titles in Portuguese. They've been selling ebooks written in that language since late 2011, but their selection is still quite limited (the Kindle Store stocks close to 20 thousand titles) so this deal is great news for Nook customers.
But more importantly, this deal is likely also a sign that the Nook Store is going to expand into Brazil and the rest of South America and Central America as well.
Why the entire region?
If we look at the Nook Store's past expansion efforts, it suggests that new local Nook Stores will be launched in a swath of countries and not just one store here and there. In November 2013 the Nook Store expanding into 30 countries. Aside from Canada and Australia, 28 of the countries were all located in Europe.
If this pattern repeats itself then we'll likely see Nook Stores launch in most of Latin America in a single day. And given that the region primarily speaks 3 languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and English) it would make a lot of sense to launch all the local stores at the same time.
That is certainly the pattern which Google appears to be following; Play Books launched in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, And Venezuela in December 2013. Apple also launched iBooks in a number of South American countries in late 2012.
So far Google and Apple are the only 2 international ebook competitors to give much attention to South America; Amazon has only launched local Kindle Stores in Mexico and Brazil.
P.S. Speaking of Amazon, last week the retail giant started selling Kindles in Brazil. While Amazon had launched the Kindle Store in Brazil in December 2012, device sales were handled by 3rd parties, not Amazon, including a cellphone retailer which managed 9 mall kiosks for Amazon.
image by thejourney1972