The Beginning of the End: B&N Shutters the International Nook Store

The Beginning of the End: B&N Shutters the International Nook Store Barnes & Noble e-Reading Software eBookstore Over the past month B&N has been making us wonder whether it was committed to ebooks. First B&N closed its office in Luxembourg, then it relaunched its website with a borked Nook area, and today B&N has removed all doubt.

Barnes & Noble is sending out emails to customers in Europe, sharing the news that they will soon be ex-customers.

You can find the email at the end of this post (translated from Dutch; Thanks, Martjin!) but the short version is that B&N has reiterated the announcement they made last month when they said the Nook Windows 8 app would no longer be available internationally.

B&N is abandoning most of its international customers on 7 August 2015.

The Nook Store had been available in 40 countries, including Australia, much of Europe, Canada, the UK, and the US; on 8 August the Nook Store will only be available in the US and UK (this was confirmed by B&N).

This really comes as no surprise; B&N had 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 (which is why I joked that the international store really belonged to Microsoft).

And what with B&N  buying out Microsoft's share of Nook Media in December, it's not like we didn't see this coming.

The next question, of course, is where does B&N go from here?

With Nook revenues having fallen to half that of the previous fiscal year ($264 million) and expected to continue declining (authors are already reporting that the malfunctioning website has killed their sales) the odds are very good that B&N is going to throw in the towel on their ebook money pit.

Should that happen, the only question will be whether they will sell the Nook platform or simply shutter their ebook operation.

If Nook users are lucky, B&N will find a buyer. Kobo, for example, could take over the customer accounts just like they did when Sony pulled out of the ebook market last year.

But B&N could still simply close the Nook Store, and there is a chance that incoming B&N CEO Ron Boire might pull a rabbit out of his hat and save the Nook.

Dear Customer,

We recently announced that Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have agreed to terminate their commercial partnership. As a result, payments through your Microsoft account no longer supported. In addition, the NOOK App for Windows will from August 7, 2015 are no longer available outside the United States. This means that your NOOK content can no longer open on a Windows platform.

Our records indicate that you are outside the United States and that you are using your Microsoft account as a payment method in your NOOK App for Windows account. Therefore, you may be eligible for a refund from Microsoft for any purchases you have made with your Microsoft account.

 

image by JeepersMedia

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. 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.

44 Comments

  1. fjtorres8 July, 2015

    Much more interesting to speculate: what will MS do about ebooks in Win10.
    Nothing?
    Roll their own?
    Team with Amazon?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder8 July, 2015

      I’d just go with Amazon. Or Kobo. Both have Windows 8 aps anyway.

      Reply
      1. fjtorres8 July, 2015

        Okay. Just for the heck of it, I’ll bet MS will wait until the asking price comes down to something reasonable ($299.00) and pick up the carcass to bundle it with Win10 with Bing. 😀

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder8 July, 2015

          I think a fair price would be however much MS was paid for its share of Nook media.

          Reply
          1. fjtorres8 July, 2015

            Yeah, but $299.00 is the borderline price for impulse buys. 🙂
            Once you factor in the losses while the leaking ship is righted, $299.00 is more than a fair price.
            At least B&N wouldn’t be paying somebody to take on the burden of shutting it down.

            Reply
  2. Jack8 July, 2015

    When Kobo took over the Sony stuff, I lost almost all of the e-books in my Sony account and all of my cash credit in my Sony account. Neither Kobo nor Sony would do anything to help me. Since then, I’ve refused to have anything to do with either company. If NOOK gets transferred to Kobo, that’s the last of that for me. Glad I’ve got ’em all downloaded.

    Reply
    1. MG Camacho10 July, 2015

      I guess I am one of the few lucky ones who didn’t lose any of my purchases when I migrated from Sony to Kobo. I still use Kobo especially because I can shop from my indie bookstore’s Kobo link and my indie bookstore gets a % of the sales.

      Reply
      1. Nate Hoffelder10 July, 2015

        I would expect to lose nearly all of my Nook library in a move to Kobo. Most of my purchases were from Fictionwise, a lot of which were DRM-free stuff sold by the authors themselves, and those only exist now because B&N is hosting a copy.

        Kob will just get the account info, so all those ebooks will vanish in the move.

        Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder8 July, 2015

      Yep. I was going to add that to the links post tomorrow.

      Reply
  3. Richard Adin9 July, 2015

    An expected development, I would think. I know I have stopped buying ebooks for the most part except occasionally from Smashwords. I stopped when B&N disabled downloading. Print books may have storage problems, but I physically have them and it doesn’t matter whether the bookstore I bought from survives or doesn’t or changes its terms of leasing ebooks.

    eBooks have advantages but for me — let me emphasize that “for me” — the disadvantages outweigh the advantages significantly, especially considering the price asked for many ebooks.

    Do you think that this is part of a conspiracy to revitalize print books and destroy ebooks? Should we ask the DOJ to investigate? 🙂 (Only being facetious here)

    Reply
  4. Bostjan9 July, 2015

    I believe that in all digital marketplaces where there is a sort of a DRM there must be a government requirement that you must transfer the accounts and bought media to a different company. If I own some digital media (in the cloud) I should be able to freely transfer that between companies.

    Reply
  5. Feda9 July, 2015

    Whoever buys DRM infested content, and with that supports that system, gets what they deserve.

    Reply
  6. […] and the Pink Panther to figure out what is going on over there. You can read more about it here, here, and […]

    Reply
  7. […] Nook on the Retreat in Europe (Ink, Bits & Pixels) Barnes & Noble has been quietly winding down its operations in Europe in recent months, and now the company alerts international customers that their accounts will soon be closed. The bookseller’s newly appointed CEO Ron Boire will need to determine the company’s next steps when it comes to Nook, as well as Barnes & Noble’s broader digital strategy, when he assumes that role in September. […]

    Reply
  8. […] The Digital Reader found an interesting email sent to international Nook users about the Nook app for Windows. Essentially it informs international Nook users outside the US or the UK that their content will be removed from Windows machines and their money refunded. […]

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  9. […] For the full text of B&N’s email to their international customers, and more information, check out the full report at The Digital Reader. […]

    Reply
  10. […] the heels of closing its Luxembourg office last month, Barnes & Noble announced the inevitable today. Customers in Europe are finding out via email that they are being abandoned on August 7, […]

    Reply
  11. Tom Semple9 July, 2015

    It is telling that B&N is not publicly re-affirming their commitment to Nook as they are doing this. That lack of affirmation is surely inflicting damage to the business. Who would buy an ebook from them now, and why?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder9 July, 2015

      Good point.

      B&N did make a statement (I left it out), but they did not affirm their support for the Nook platform.

      Ouch.

      Reply
  12. Hugh Howey9 July, 2015

    Yet another example of a market leader seeing an inevitable disruption and being unable to pivot and capitalize. This is right out of THE INNOVATOR’S DILEMMA. You can’t get players within B&N to commit to a new architecture, with new accounts, where small wins are celebrated as wildly as existing (and larger) print book wins. And so you develop animosity within the corporation, innovation moves slowly, and no one has proper incentive to see that the disrupting technology gains hold. Even when those inside and outside the corporation can see what needs to be done (ebook search is broken, review system is being used for chatting and games), there isn’t sufficient threat to the core business to fix the problem with haste.

    B&N is still profitable, as it transitions to a gift store with more space for games and toys and less for books. And print books are on their way to becoming gift purchases, as the majority of reading now takes place on screens, but the gift of a book to another is an easy and healthy choice (just match a subject or genre to the friend or family member’s tastes), and a gift of a book to ourself is like gym equipment that sits under the bed. The book goes unread or unfinished, but we invested in our hopes of being more like the person we want to be.

    I think publishing observers have it backwards, to be honest. The subscription model will emerge as a profitable enterprise, with Amazon the only one left standing. And B&N will be the company that survives based on a gym membership mentality. They will continue to sell enough books to remain viable for another 3-4 years, just as communities are full of gyms that no one goes to, but everyone belongs to. That TBR pile won’t get any smaller, but we’ll keep buying books, promising ourselves we’ll get off our phones and make time to read.

    Reply
    1. Tim Wilhoit10 July, 2015

      “B&N is still profitable, as it transitions to a gift store with more space for games and toys and less for books.”

      What a difference 20 years makes, eh? In the 90s, B&N was a lithe young predator, stalking indie prey. He would sneak close to his victims and park his “business” across the “street” from them. When the moment was right, he would pounce, ripping out his meal’s jugular with razor sharp “predatory prices.” Now, the old boy is arthritic, nearly toothless and can barely pounce on a saucer of moistened kibble.

      I prefer the indies anyway, they have far more character. Books too. 😉

      Reply
  13. ?????Barnes & Noble?????????Nook?? – CNOS-IT9 July, 2015

    […] [????SlashGear , ???Digital Reader] […]

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  14. […] Digital Reader reports that B&N had expanded into international markets through Windows 8, and that now they’re pulling back on that. Sales will continue only in the US and UK […]

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  15. Tienda de Barnes & Noble Nook Shutter internacional - LocurasGeek - Tecnologia e Internet y Juegos9 July, 2015

    […] es sólo que el dominio de Amazon es bastante abrumador, tanto es así que parece que Barnes Noble le llaman un día tanto como Nook internacional Su tienda se […]

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  16. […] comes news that B&N truly is closing down its Nook operations overseas. As the article states, this isn’t too surprising. For one, Nook books were available […]

    Reply
  17. […] with B&N giving up on the international Nook Store and having trouble getting their new site to function properly, […]

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  18. […] week's news about B&N retreating from the international ebook market inspired me to make sure that all my Nook purchases are backed up in DRM-free […]

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  19. Barnes & Noble ????????????????????????? Nook ??????????????? | Webtheboy.com ???????????????12 July, 2015

    […] ????? – The Digital Reader […]

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  20. […] A The Digital Reader számol be arról, hogy az egyik legnagyobb amerikai kiadó, a Barnes & Noble befejezi a kontinensen kívüli e-könyv forgalmazást. Eddig több mint 40 országban voltak megvásárolhatóak a kiadványaik, azonban augusztus 8-tól már csak az Egyesült Államokban lesz elérhet? az áruházuk. Ezzel a lépéssel az Amazon elveszítette az egyik legnagyobb riválisát a nemzetközi piacon. (link) […]

    Reply
  21. […] nicht mehr außerhalb der USA nutzbar ist. Das geht aus einer E-Mail an Nook-Kunden hervor, die das Fachblog The Digital Reader zuerst veröffentlicht hat. Ein B&N-Sprecher hat den Sachverhalt inzwischen gegenüber Engadget bestätigt: […]

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  22. […] I read this article, which announces the closing of the international Nook store. While up to this point, Barnes and […]

    Reply
  23. […] In other book news, the Nook is dying internationally. […]

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  24. […] and you live in Europe? If so, you’ll have to get your books from another source, because Barnes and Noble has announced that it will shut down the International Nook Store in August. Does this mean that iPad and Kindle are now the Coke and Pepsi options for people who […]

    Reply
  25. […] the intro, I round up my time at ThrillerFest and talk about how Nook has shuttered all international stores except the UK, plus the release of iOS 8.4 iBooks which will have integration with iTunes, which […]

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  26. […] Alas, it sounds a lot like Nook is circling the drain. […]

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  27. […] about the future of NOOKPress after international stores were shut in July and audio books, including Google […]

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  28. […] talk a bit about short-sighted.  Barnes & Noble has announced that they are shuttering their international Nook ebook […]

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  29. Brian Williams30 November, 2015

    Hence the existence of Calibre.

    Reply
  30. […] shutting down its international Nook Store in July 2015, B&N was left with just the Nook Stores in the US […]

    Reply
  31. peter flatley16 March, 2016

    How do we access books on nook.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder16 March, 2016

      That’s a complicated question with several answers. I’m not quite sure which answer you need, so I’m going to recommend that you read the FAQs mentioned in this post.

      Reply
  32. […] But consider Barnes and Noble, a company that, for a while at least, fancied itself Amazon’s rival. In case you missed it, Barnes and Noble is now closing down its international Nook store… […]

    Reply

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