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Barnes & Noble Discontinues the Nook Touch

Don’t nook touchlook now, but Barnes & Noble has retired the Nook Touch. This ebook reader, which initially launched in 2011, is no longer mentioned on the B&N website, and according to my sources all mentions of it are being removed from B&N stores today.

The Nook Touch is still available on the Nook UK website, and you can still find it via 3rd-party retailers and on Ebay, but so far as B&N is concerned this model has been discontinued here in the US.

On a related note, the 2012 Nook Glow is also gone, but that should come as no surprise. That ereader was replaced in late 2013 by a newer model, and was subsequently retired.

The Nook Simple Touch was B&N’s second ebook reader, and it was released in late May 2011. It ran Android 2.1 on an 800MHz CPU with 256MB RAM, Wifi, a 6″ E-ink screen, and an IR touchscreen. It had 1.2GB of internal storage, and a microSD card slot.

For a while there the Nook Touch proved quite popular among hackers; once B&N’s interface was bypassed hackers quickly began to appreciate having a 6″ E-ink Android tablet, and they came up with new ways to use it including by playing Angry Birds, running a MacOS emulator, reading Kindle ebooks, playing videos, and some truly weird tricks like word processing and wireless printing.


The Nook Touch hadn’t received significant updates in some time the 3 years since it launched, so I am not surprised that it’s now gone, but I do wonder whether this was the best move.

This model was priced to compete with the basic Kindle, and now that it’s gone B&N won’t have an ebook reader for the budget conscious consumer. Sure, there are any number of models on the market which will work with the Nook Store, but I was under the impression that one goal for the Nook hardware was to try to lock readers in to buying their ebooks from B&N.

Perhaps B&N isn’t so interested in the bottom of the market any more? Given that they were probably losing money on each Nook Touch sold, that would make some sense.

In any case, the Nook Touch is still available at a variety of retailers, including Walmart, Target, and Ebay.

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J Mills February 17, 2014 um 9:54 am

"The Nook Touch hadn’t received significant updates in the 3 years since it launched…" is the reason I bought 2 kindle paperwhites and will never buy another B&N device.

Sturmund Drang February 17, 2014 um 6:21 pm

This is going to sound argumentative and I don’t mean it that way, but why inthe heck would you want it updated? To my way of thinking it’s a basic appliance. Any updates would either be to add some piece of unneeded esoteric functionality or (more likely) to lock the device down and screw the DRM in even tighter. I wouldn’t want mine "updated".

Paulie February 18, 2014 um 3:22 pm

You would want updates to make it work decently. The Simple Touch came out with many bugs and the firmware updates fixed many of them. I was doing ebook development at this time and would see errors in products one week, yet, the next week or so, a firmware update would come along, and voila!, the "errors" would disappear. So that’s why you want updates—to make the thing work slightly less than horribly until the next "must have" gewgaw comes out.

Alexander Inglis February 17, 2014 um 10:41 am

So does it appear that e-ink devices are being phased out entirely? Opening the door to nothing but generic tablets or, perhaps, stay focussed solely on on apps? As I recall, the company previously said it was staying in the hardware business but didn’t commit to specifics. I do see the logic in trimming down the selection but you’d think keeping one e-ink in market (with evolving specs and features) would make sense. The current GlowLight is $107 which sounds like a great entry level price. These devices are marvelous for travelling and any time you want something compact and lightweight (with reliable long term battery).

Nate Hoffelder February 17, 2014 um 11:42 am

I don’t expect B&N to release another ebook reader, no. But other than that I don’t know what their plans are.

Doug February 17, 2014 um 12:30 pm

The last I’d heard, B&N was committed to designing and producing new e-readers, which presumably means e-ink type screens. They were planning to out-source design and development of new tablets.

As you’ve certainly noticed, these sorts of plans are subject to frequent change. I imagine we’ll hear more about the latest plans on the 26th, after B&N releases its Q3 financial results and has the investor conference call.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) February 17, 2014 um 11:39 am

I don’t know their plans, but their nook forums are nearly dead, when anyone asks for a rec for an e-reader, the Nook is rarely mentioned or is low on the ladder–because there’s a general feeling that Nook is going to be sold or go away (all of them). I’ve seen their marketing efforts pick up before the holidays, but then stop completely.

Sturmund Drang February 17, 2014 um 6:24 pm

That’s a very interesting observation, Maria.

Paul February 17, 2014 um 12:56 pm

You even had a NYTimes article last week which started out

"Don’t mock the beleaguered Nook owner. That could have been you."

"Five years ago, when the nation’s largest chain of bookstores released an e-reader that it promised would best Amazon’s Kindle, could you blame the poor souls who bought in to Barnes & Noble’s vision of the future? In 2011, Consumer Reports proclaimed the Nook the best e-reader in the land, saying it surpassed the Kindle in just about every way. Well, that sounds pretty definitive, doesn’t it? No wonder your aunt bought you one for Christmas."

"Things haven’t played out well since. After failing to douse Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble has spent the last year refashioning its Nook strategy, and with its recent reductions in e-reader staff, the Nook’s end looks nigh. If you own a Nook, the fate of your books may now be up in the air. Sorry, you bet on the wrong horse."

That’s not going to help you sell more Nook readers.

Sturmund Drang February 17, 2014 um 6:43 pm

That’s a good article. And gives good advice…. for most.

I’m going to go another route. And it’s extremely unpopular and probably technologically …derailing. I’m going to own only hardware and software I can lock into *my* ecosystem. That means I’m going to avoid apple and google and all cloud services like the evil entities they probably are, hack my devices, and control my own software and media.

I have two nooks, a simple touch with glo and a nook hd. I love them both. The simple touch has been "broken" so it can’t connect wirelessly and is safe from Papa Barnes. The hd is running cyanogenmod-basic. I haven’t "broken" it yet but if the tin-foil hat starts tingling I probably will.

I feel badly that I’m not buying books from Barnes and Noble, but their DRM and excessive lock-in are unacceptable.

I know this puts me squarely with the lunatic fringe. But I just can’t see why this generation is so recklessly anxious to enslave itself.

Bormasina February 18, 2014 um 12:56 pm

That is how i feel. I’m not giving money to anything that is with drm. Whatever i’ve purchased from Amazon (50 ~ 60$) is stripped and doesn’t have have drm anymore … Sold my paperwhite II … I do not have many Android devices (2012 Nexus 7 tab and LG Optimus G Pro phone on ATT), but what i have now is hacked and compiled with my own AOSP build + my own AOSP keys (not with Google generic keys). My LG phone has removable battery and i plan on using it until batteries are available for it and until i can keep up with the code …

Theresa M. Moore February 18, 2014 um 1:42 pm

One of the reasons I have chosen to sell ebooks only from my site is that the major retailers don’t seem interested in getting on the ball and offering full value for the convenience of customers. I offer my ebooks in PDF and ePub format, and can easily create kindle compatible files. So far it has been better than uploading a Word file, seeing it convert improperly, then having it languish in the stacks rather than in a freely open buying catalog. I don’t use DRM. Yet, even with these attempts to attract real and avid readers, everyone would rather buy from Amazon. Sorry, but I don’t do Amazon, so you will have to do some serious shopping elsewhere. Besides, Nook Press has seen fit to dictate terms like some third world military junta, so I don’t do Nook, either. I prefer that readers really look for a good book the traditional way, rather than rely on big boxers with no policy which protects sellers.

flyingtoastr February 18, 2014 um 11:06 pm

"The Nook Touch hadn’t received significant updates in the 3 years since it launched"

Except for the dozen or so firmware updates, including one that ripped out the entire reader software and replaced it with one that had a far more advanced rendering engine.

dantegt March 10, 2014 um 3:27 pm

I rather BN than Amazon Kindle, IMO the nook ST is better product than the Kindle ereader.

BN has done its worst decision ever, remove the nook ST with no notification to the customers at all, that creates uncertainty on the customers not just for the simple touch owners even for the Glo owners also. They are surrendering to Amazon the eReaders market under $100

Katie April 5, 2014 um 12:08 pm

The nook still is a far superior e-reader, primarily because of it’s external storage option and the fact that it’s based on android.
I believe that Nook is struggling primarily because everyone now knows that most Nook books are $1-2 more than their Kindle counterparts. That trumps the fact that the nook really is a better device. Kindle is good enough, and it becomes far cheaper in the long run.

If someone would just release an e-ink tablet that is pure Android and which can read every format of book from any company anywhere, we’d have a winner.

As it is… I’m just going to root my nook this month so that it serves that purpose. I’m set.

What does that mean for B&N? No clue. I know that they can’t match Amazon’s ebook prices, and I’m glad I’m not in their shoes struggling to figure out what to do about it.

Nate Hoffelder April 5, 2014 um 2:33 pm

The new Nook doesn’t have external storage or page turn buttons. It’s also running an old version of Android.

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[…] Barnes and Noble quietly discontinued the Nook Simple Touch, leaving only the GlowLight and tablet models available for purchase. […]

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