After shutting down its international Nook Store in July 2015, B&N was left with just the Nook Stores in the US and UK. And now it appears the latter is about to go away.
There's a belated announcement from B&N, but I learned of this story via a leak by the British supermarket chain Sainsbury's. It posted a new webpage which:
Hello NOOK customers!
We are looking forward to welcoming you to Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand very shortly.
We are just putting the finishing touches to the process to allow us to transfer your eBooks and NOOK account to Sainsbury’s Entertainment. NOOK will send you an email with more information very soon.
In the meantime, if you have any questionsor watch introductory video.
A quick check of the Nook.co.uk website confirms that there are "big changes ahead". The actual notice about the Nook UK closure was only just published while I was writing this post (the relevant page was blank just minutes ago), and it confirms the Sainsbury's welcome message.
B&N tells its customers that the Nook apps will soon stop working in the UK, the ereaders will no longer have a bookstore built-in, and:
To meet your digital reading needs going forward, NOOK has partnered with award-winningto ensure that you have continued access to the vast majority of your purchased NOOK Books at no new cost to you. Further instructions on how to transfer your NOOK Books to a new or existing Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand account will be sent to you by email over the coming weeks. Please ensure that you look out for these emails as they will contain important information on what to do next.
B&N also links to an FAQ.
Far from being "committed to providing a great digital reading experience to our customers", as B&N claimed in its financial report this morning, the retailer is retreating from yet another digital market. (This reversal also makes me doubt the announcement that B&N has a prototype digital store opening this year).
Edit: The WSJ said that B&N plans to open four prototype stores by April 2017.
At its peak the Nook Store was available in 40 countries, including Canada, the UK, Australia, much of Europe, and the US. In the not too distant future it will only be available to readers in the US.
Would anyone care to lay odds on when the US Nook Store gets shut down?
I would put the over-under at 7 months. That may seem like a short time frame, but then again I am a realist.
After having shut down its office in Luxembourg and later abandoning its international customers, dropping support for Windows 8 users in the UK, and now pulling back from the UK entirely, it's clear that B&N is shutting down the Nook Store one component at a time.
Edit: B&N is also shutting down Nook Video.
The only part left is the Nook Store in the US, and that is bound to be on its way out.
Your guess is as good as mine as to when, but I would keep an eye out for a sudden exodus of staffers from the Nook offices. Once they get their pink slips, it will mark the death of the division and the servers are bound to be shut off a short while later.
image by James Cridland