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Barnes & Noble Commits to Selling 1 Million Nook-Branded Galaxy Tab 4, Including Both 7″ and 10″ Models

Galaxy-Tab-4-NOOK_25[1]Barnes & Noble has set itself a difficult goal for the next phase of its hardware business.

Earlier today they announced a deal to sell a Nook-branded tablet from Samsung, and a few hours later they spelled out the Samsung contract in a new SEC filing. I’m still working my way through the filing, but it’s already revealed quite a few details not mentioned in the press release.

For example, B&N has committed to buying a million tablets from Samsung in the first year:

NOOK Media has agreed to a minimum purchase commitment during the first twelve months after the launch of the initial co-branded NOOK devices of 1,000,000 devices; provided that if NOOK Media does not meet certain sales thresholds of the initial co-branded NOOK devices by December 31, 2014, the twelve month period referred to above shall be extended to fifteen months.

The B&N-Samsung deal is going to commence with the Galaxy Tab 4, but the filing hints that it might expand to other models in the future.  This agreement also includes a marketing fund which will be supplied by Samsung, as well as joint efforts to promote both Samsung hardware and the Nook platform. The co-branded devices are going to be unavoidably tied to the Nook platform; the filing says that this is a registration step which cannot be skipped.

And most importantly, this deal initially includes rebranding both the Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 and the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1:

For the initial Co-Branded Devices, NOOK Media hereby selects Galaxy Tab 4 7” and Galaxy Tab 4 10” Tablets, each in two SKUs (black and white). Samsung shall use its best efforts to make the 7” initial Co-Branded Device available for a commercial Launch during the week of [***] (the “ Initial Availability Date ”), with the 10” initial Co-Branded Device to follow sixty (60) days after the Launch of the Galaxy Tab 4 7”.

The 7″ model is expected to ship in August, according to B&N, which would mean the 10″ tablet will likely ship in October 2014. Both devices have largely the same specs.

Given B&N’s previous lack of success, in selling tablets, do you think they will do better in selling Samsung devices?

I don’t think so, but that could be my pessimism talking. I just don’t think of B&N as a place to buy a tablet – not when BestBuy, Walmart, and Amazon are all carrying multiple models.

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flyingtoastr June 5, 2014 um 4:36 pm

BN’s major problem has always been marketing – the company simply can’t afford the huge advertising budgets that Apple, Amazon, and Samsung have. If Sammy is indeed footing the marketing bill I would say there’s actually a decent chance BN could regain a little of their mojo from this deal.

Chris Meadows June 5, 2014 um 4:54 pm

I wonder how "unavoidably" is "unavoidably." Past Nook tablets (such as, say, the Nook HD) have been some of the more easily rooted, after all.

steve June 5, 2014 um 5:31 pm

I think Nate is forgetting that BN has sold something like over 10 million tablets at this point. It was just a matter of not being able to compete with larger and better capitalized companies. But if Samsung really is going to foot the marketing bill, and free Nook media from having to worry about manufacturing, this could turn out very well for BN. I think Nook took a big step towards becoming a sustainable, profitable business today.

Nate Hoffelder June 5, 2014 um 5:37 pm

10 million ereaders, maybe, but not tablets.

Remember, Samsung said B&N sold 1.5 million tablets in 2011. Are you telling me that in the 2.5 years after that B&N sold 8.5 million tablets?

I don’t think so. That would be good news for B&N if they had.

flyingtoastr June 5, 2014 um 6:22 pm

They’ve sold 10 million total devices. Given that eReaders have been, by BN’s own admission, a saturated market and not selling great since the NST came out back in 2011, it’s a fair assumption that a plurality of those are indeed tablets.

Nate Hoffelder June 5, 2014 um 6:40 pm

Probably not. B&N has only been selling true Android tablets since early 2013. The Nook Color and Nook Tablet are so hobbled that they count as enhanced ereaders, not tablets. And if B&N had sold millions of tablets in 2013, it would have made the news. Instead we saw reports of declining revenues quarter after quarter.

So no, B&N didn’t sell 10 million tablets.

flyingtoastr June 5, 2014 um 7:08 pm

By that measure, Amazon has sold a grand total of 0 tablets as well, since they’re not "real" Android tablets.

You’re debating semantics.

Nate Hoffelder June 5, 2014 um 7:45 pm

No, you guys are trying to fudge a statement about ereaders into a statement about tablets, and I am not letting you get away with it. And you’re wrong to bring in the Kindle Fire, for obvious reasons.

colleen June 6, 2014 um 9:50 am

I don’t care who is manufacturing the devices or quibbling about how many tablets or ereaders have been sold by either B&N or Amazon, I care about the software. My Nook HD is crappy as a tablet. They try to decide where I am allowed to go. (Haven’t checked recently since I don’t use it as a tablet anymore, but I hadn’t been able to watch any videos unless I bought a video from B&N. Maybe it’s possible now.) Additionally, their software for reading has some pretty stupid things such as keeping the book covers showing under the "books" area even when they have been deleted. If you don’t set up a "shelf" for yourself, you will have to scroll thru all the covers of the books that were once loaded. They can team with whatever company they want, I won’t be buying from B&N.

Tammy June 6, 2014 um 10:33 pm

Colleen, you can watch videos with ultraviolet, netflix, comcast/fios apps now! It’s not just from the BN store. Grab some google play apps!

To hide the books in the library so you no longer see the covers, hold down on the book cover while also holding the volume up (or maybe it’s down…I forget) button. Now when the pop-up menu comes up, you can Archive a book and it leaves your library!

Hope that helps a bit 🙂

Paul June 6, 2014 um 10:18 am

Actually, when I spoke to a couple of parents last night, they were quite excited about Barnes selling Samsung tablets for three reasons.

1. If it goes wrong, they can take it to B&N to get it fixed. They like going to talk to a person rather than send it away to Amazon.
2. They see B&N as being able to build good parental controls on their devices, which is an edge over the general Android tablets
3. Samsung is a brand name they trust. Remember nearly half the country has a Samsung tv at this point, so its a brand they are familiar with that they associate with Technology. B&N they associate books and bookstores with.

I put it in the realm of possible that they could pull this off.

RockDaMan June 6, 2014 um 2:43 pm

Thats a pretty in-depth conversation to have with one parent, let alone multiples.

Paul June 6, 2014 um 2:53 pm

You’ll be amazed at the sort of feedback you get in a private Facebook parents group if you post something.

michael b. June 6, 2014 um 12:06 pm

my only amazement is that b & n did not do this sooner, and escape the h/w moneypit.

in addition to being a brick and mortar location that buyers can go to, ala an 'expert bar', there is one other thing that b & n can offer: bundles !

imagine a YA bundle that has pre-loaded the 1st (and sometimes second) volumes in series by riordan, kate, nix, roth (veronica ! my children are not old enough for phillip…) etc ? or a mystery bundle with queen, christie, etc ? need i say more for sci-fi, romance, and any other targeted genre ?

and if it was not sold pre-loaded, it would not take much to download such a 'bundle' at activation time, along with opt-in/registration for subscriptions/newsletters/recommendations/newsletters.

can your local best buy do that ?

(and for the record, in additon to my kobo aura hd, i use a rooted nook hd+ for reading mags, playing frozen for g*dknowshowmanytime, etc. my ipad sits on a table, un-usually uncharged….)

Nate Hoffelder June 6, 2014 um 1:14 pm

In B&N’s defense, making their own hardware didn’t seem like a bad idea in 2012, and it was actually a good idea in 2009 (when B&N got started). It was only how B&N went about it that presented an issue. If the devices hadn’t been so locked down B&N might have had more luck.

oj829 June 6, 2014 um 1:55 pm

There was a wide spec-gulf between the 7″ and 8″ versions of the Galaxy Tab3. They were really two distant cousins. That gulf is reduced in the Tab4 series, but as a poorer veteran of the reader/tab/B&N wars, my main suggestion would be:

Quit it with the camera(s) already. Give me storage instead. My 32GB tab can not handle 2years of New Yorker mags downloaded through "NextIssue", and none of the major 'zine vendors (Zinio, NextIssue, Google) offer client software that lets you store content on an external SDCard.

So the Samsung GTab4s will max out at 16GB storage onboard??? (The Tab4 10.1″ does now).

Given how tight-fisted B&N was with where you could put your virtual stuff on your NT, NC and NHD, I don’t expect them to break ground in this area.

If I can buy a dual-SIM phone for $20, I should be able to see a tab which lets you pop a couple of 64GB SDcsards in without breaking the bank.

People will subscribe to mags before books. Books can be accommodated without excessive storage. A year of "Vogue" cannot.

steve June 6, 2014 um 2:27 pm

NOOK offers digital locker services. There is no reason you have to keep your old magazine issues on prem. You can just delete and redownload them whenever you want.

michael b. June 6, 2014 um 2:38 pm

hmm delete and re-download….like sony ?

however, how much room do you REALLY need ? a 32gb micro sd costs between 20-30 USD.

at ~100 MB a mag, that would let you hold/archive 26 years of vogue….

oj829 June 6, 2014 um 2:47 pm

I have a 32GB (internal only) Kobo arc. It’s up to 80% full and the great majority of that is my New Yorker subscription from NextIssue. Even if the Arc had an SD slot, I couldn’t direct my NextIssue downloads there. The purge soon begins.

I enjoy free library mags via Zinio on my Samsung Tab3, but again, not one byte of my external 64GB card can be used for magazine storage by Zinio.

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Khentiamentiu August 20, 2014 um 6:03 pm

I’m looking forward to the combination of three of my favorite vendors: Samsung for home electronics, Google for a mobile OS and B&N for books. When the HD+ came out it had the best hardware configuration available in an E-Reader, and I still use it for books and magazines. I almost bought a Samsung Note to run the Nook app on, but if the 10″ promotion is similar to the 7″, it’ll be a better deal for me. I use six different computers outside work, from smartphone to desktop, and it’s nice to have one backed by my local bookstore. Here’s hoping the 10″ version is out in October.

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