B&N to Close Nook UK Store on 15 March, Will Hand Customers Off to Sainsbury’s

B&N to Close Nook UK Store on 15 March, Will Hand Customers Off to Sainsbury's Barnes & Noble eBookstore 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 welcomes Nook users:

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 questions read our FAQ or 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-winning Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand to 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.

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image by James Cridland

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.

32 Comments

  1. […] Update: In fact, there are already some changes: B&N is shutting down its UK NOOK store on March 15th. […]

    Reply
  2. Brian3 March, 2016

    They’re killing off Nook Video in the US too. Not that they ever did much with it…

    https://help.barnesandnoble.com/app/nook_video/list

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder3 March, 2016

      That was still open? Really?

      Edit: And thanks for the tip!

      Reply
  3. […] changes as of March 15. Nate Hoffelder reports at The Digital Reader that Barnes & Noble is shutting down its UK Nook store and transferring its customers to UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, as well as closing down Nook […]

    Reply
  4. Chris Meadows3 March, 2016

    Also, they’re divesting the US Nook tablet app store of third-party Android apps.

    Contract, contract, contract, throwing off huge chunks of relevance like a star expelling most of its mass in a nova…

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder3 March, 2016

      Yes, Mark beat you to it by about 30 minutes. So Pfffffbbbbt!

      Reply
  5. Hayden3 March, 2016

    “To meet your digital reading needs going forward, NOOK has partnered with award-winning Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand to ensure that you have continued access to the vast majority of your purchased NOOK Books at no new cost to you”

    So you will have access to the vast MAJORITY of your books. What happens to the rest of the books?

    Another great advertisement to remove DRM of any ebooks you buy and store them somewhere safe. Never trust your ebook retailer to be in operation in the future (including Amazon) and that when they shut down that you will still have access to all of your ebooks.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder3 March, 2016

      I don’t think it’s going to be a “majority”. Sainsbury’s only boasts half a million titles. Most of someone’s library will be lost in the transfer.

      Reply
      1. Hayden3 March, 2016

        Wow, I can’t wait for the reports of people loosing access to their books.

        Then the replies will be, ‘but you actually did not buy them, you just got a license to read them and since our store is closed, that license has expired”.

        Strip DRM, convert to your favourite ebook format and store in a safe place or two.

        Reply
    2. Paul Durrant4 March, 2016

      Barnes & Noble say in one of their FAQs about the change that you will receive a credit at the Sainsbury store for any books that don’t transfer. I’ve no idea if this will apply to books that themselves were transferred to nook from Fictionwise, but I certainly hope so.

      Reply
  6. puzzled3 March, 2016

    “committed to providing a great digital reading experience to our customers”

    Actually, B&N is committed to this, they’ve finally realised that to get a great digital reading experience, you have to be using someone else’s hardware and store.

    Reply
    1. Syn3 March, 2016

      And soon as they go under, it will be Amazon’s fault. I said it years ago, pity sales could carry them only so far.

      Reply
    2. Nate Hoffelder3 March, 2016

      LOL

      Reply
  7. […] & Noble announced a slew of of closures on Thursday, including Nook Video, the UK Nook Store, and what had to have been one of B&N's greatest digital […]

    Reply
  8. Andy6 March, 2016

    With Nook doing the dirty on UK customers, why should anyone trust any of the ebook providers going forward? This will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of ebook readers who opted for Nook as opposed to another brand. At least with a paperback, there is no risk of the publisher coming round to your home in the future and removing it from your shelf! Nook should be offering some major refunds to customers for readers and content they cannot really use, or transferring everything over to another ebook provider like Amazon.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder6 March, 2016

      “With Nook doing the dirty on UK customers, why should anyone trust any of the ebook providers going forward? “

      This isn’t the first time B&N left its customers in the lurch, and I wonder if that earlier abandonment might be more important than I previously thought.

      Way back in 2012 B&N shut down Fictionwise, the ebookstore it acquired in 2009. The US customers had some of their books transferred to the Nook store, but all the international customers were simply told to fuck off.

      A year later, and the Nook platform imploded. It had a disastrous holiday season and never recovered.

      Do you suppose the closure of Fictionwise impacted the collapse a year later?

      Reply
  9. […] the intro, I mention NOOK closing their UK store and other NOOK changes, Amazon’s new physical bookstore in San Diego, problems with Kindle […]

    Reply
  10. Ann14 March, 2016

    Most of our library will move over to Sainsbury’s so does that mean we won’t be able to get new books? I’ve switched between the nook and kindle a lot but went with the nook purely because the glow light is such a huge bonus. … no good if I can’t get books though.

    Reply
  11. goingalong15 March, 2016

    My UK Nook books are being transferred across to Sainsbury’s, as I type. No idea how many will make it intact.

    Unless I am mistaken, details from Sainsbury’s tell me I have to have Adobe Publisher and a Windows or Apple PC handy if I want to buy and download any more books, whereas I used to be able to download straight onto my Nook which was great say when on holiday.

    Reply
  12. P Vickery15 March, 2016

    I was advised by B&N chat that the Nook readers (Simple Touch e.t.c.) will no longer access the B&N UK shop and download books. This makes all of their readers out there obsolete. Can anyone confirm this.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder15 March, 2016

      There are tricks for sideloading ebooks and hacking the firmware, but the hardware is probably going to be nonfunctional in the near future.

      Reply
      1. P Vickery15 March, 2016

        Is there any talk about compensation as there must be thousands of nook ereader customers with readers that will stop working.

        Reply
  13. Mark15 March, 2016

    I don’t understand what you mean by “nonfunctional”. If I lost USA B&N Nook downloads tonight, I would still be able to use Calibre to install any books I owned for years to come.

    This assumes removing the DRM of course.

    I encourage all UK readers to follow the instructions on this site and download and save all their books in non-DRM format. Today’s the last day, right? After that, you can still supposedly get to them on Sainsbury’s, but who knows what that will involve.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder15 March, 2016

      Yes, stripping the DRM is one of the tricks I was thinking of.

      But to be honest, I’m not even sure that the Nooks will still be functional in the Uk after B&n turns off their servers. That could disable the devices as well.

      Reply
      1. Phil P17 March, 2016

        I’ve just been investigating this, and B&N claim that the readers will continue to function *as long as they remain registered*, as it will no longer be possible to register a device after 31st March 2016. This means that if you de-register your device after that time, it will indeed become completely useless.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder17 March, 2016

          But what about newly purchased, or resold devices?

          It’s a bigger problem than B&N will admit.

          Reply
  14. […] Barnes & Noble set to shutter its UK Nook Store today, its customers are still scrambling to get their ebooks transferred to Sainsbury's. Some […]

    Reply
  15. […] publishers Samhain Publishing and Momentum Books are both winding up. Now Barnes and Noble have shut down their Nook stores everywhere except the US and are no longer supporting […]

    Reply
  16. John K2 April, 2016

    I just re-registered my Nook Did not work if I answered UK to location question did if I answered US. I setup an American account and I was able to reset the location and time zone to UK after the registration process completed.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder2 April, 2016

      That’s good to hear. Thanks for letting us know!

      Reply
  17. John Lancaster18 May, 2016

    I have changed my e mail address from [email protected] (the address I signed in when I joined) and do not have access to the e mail history anymore. How can I update my membership to the new company?
    John Lancaster

    Reply
  18. […] B&N announced that it was closing its Nook UK Store and handing its customers off to Sainsbury's, I predicted […]

    Reply

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