I am pleased to report that, when it comes to B&N CEO’s opinion on his digital division, nothing has changed in the past couple months.
RetailDive published an interview (which Good eReader subsequently pirated) where Daunt was effusive in his praise for the Nook.
You would think, then, that Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader would be destined to continue to languish on Daunt’s watch. Indeed, Waterstone’s, under Daunt’s direction, gave up its e-book business in 2016, tying up with Rakuten’s Kobo platform instead.
But Daunt sounds ready to give Nook the attention it has desperately needed, as Amazon’s Kindle has run away with the space.
“I absolutely love Nook, and I think my predecessors had fallen out of love with it,” he said. “It’s under-promoted to our customers, it became the sort of wayward child that had become embarrassing. But if you want to read digitally, the app is fantastic. I’m a champion of digital books and digital book retailing, but above and beyond that I’m a champion of reading. There are many reasons why people want to read digitally, but Nook needs to be much better supported within the Barnes & Noble ecosystem.”
That is good to hear, although not really news. Remember, that is more or less what he said two months ago.
In any case, Daunt has his work cut out for him. Nook revenues totaled $92 million in the 2019 fiscal year, which ended in 27 April 2019. (B&N did not file a fiscal report with the SEC in 2020 because, as a privately held company, it did not have to do so.) That is down from its peak around 8 years ago of over a billion dollars a year in revenue.
While we do not know its current state, the retailer appeared to be having money troubles this spring. This likely turned around as the year wore on due to the boom in ebook sales, as reported by NPD.