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Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt Still Likes the Nook

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.

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gbm August 23, 2020 um 2:34 pm

"But if you want to read digitally, the app is fantastic. " LOLOL What planet is he living on.

If he wants to be competitive then he needs to bring back direct download for drm free ebooks without needing to use called nook software. Make the windows app available on the B&N website not the windows store. Get out of that dead walled garden.

Xavier Basora August 23, 2020 um 6:57 pm

Yup. Nook has to be affordable easy to use. Can download books from a wide variety of sources directly or via calibre. And its app be cross-platform.

And bring back free Fridays

john August 28, 2020 um 9:51 pm

I think he’s referencing the android phone app. It’s quite useful.

Erin September 24, 2020 um 7:03 pm

It’s tough to compete with Amazon digitally without massive investment. Some stay out of enjoyment to rental or subscription services like KU and Audible. Just offering a similar service to their existing books isn’t easy or feasible for B&N to do without massive investment – Amazon kept it affordable for them with their own publishing imprints, deals with authors, which I don’t think B&N is in the same position to offer. Likely too much financial risk – and substantial time when that’s ships already sailed – to even try. Unfortunately without those streaming services to draw some away (and some do want to leave Amazon or have options, they’re just attached to these same services), it may not be possible to compete much digitally.

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