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Barnes & Noble is Selling Nook to Author Solutions

I think we just found out why B&N Press has been periodically adding new features while at te same time B&N has been stripping any sign of the Nook from its stores (one, two).

A friend has slipped me an early copy of the press release where B&N announces it is selling its Nook division to Najafi Companies, the parent company of Author Solutions. The announcement isn’t scheduled to go out until Thursday, but I got a copy because my source knew I would be able to get the attention of authors and others who would oppose this deal.

As you may recall, Najafi Companies bought Author Solutions from Penguin Random House in 2016. The price was not disclosed at that time, and  we don’t know the sale price of the Nook division, either. It was valued at a couple billion dollars at one point, but that was before the bubble burst.

B&N launched the Nook back in 2009 only a few months after buying Fictionwise. Over the next several years the Nook quickly grew into the second largest ebook retailer, and then for reasons no one understands, B&N’s ebook bubble burst in the 2012 holiday season.

The Nook division has been in decline ever since, totaling only $24 million for its third fiscal quarter.

I had been hoping someone would come along and turn around the Nook, but to be honest I would rather B&N pass on this deal. Selling Nook to a company that wants to combine it with Author Solutions is a deal that is frankly worse than death. Anyone would have been better than Najafi, including Amazon.

I wonder if Rakuten made an offer?

press release:

Najafi Companies. today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Barnes & Noble’s NOOK digital business, a leader in the e-book marketplace. Najafi Companies said it plans to use NOOK as part of its overall digital strategy, including by integrating NOOK and B&N Press into Author Solutions, Najafi Companies’s self-publishing services company.

“The Barnes & Noble Board of Directors carefully reviewed strategic alternatives, and believes this transaction is in the best interest of shareholders, authors, and readers. It will strongly support our transformation efforts,” said Leonard Riggio, Chairman. “This sale will allow Barnes & Noble the flexibility and runway it needs to complete the transformation required to adapt to a changing retail market."

“The purchase of the Nook digital business is an important part of our strategy to capitalize on the growing ebook services market, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital services in the consumer and education segments,” said Jahm Najafi, CEO of Najafi Companies.

William E. Wood, EVP and President of Digital at Barnes & Noble, will oversee the transition, and will assume a new position of VP, NOOK, at Najafi Companies.

“The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries, newsstands, and bookstores in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content,” said Wood. “This deal will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re at the cusp of a revolution in reading.”

About Najafi Companies

Najafi Companies is an international private investment firm based in Phoenix, Arizona, targeting education, media, consumer products, internet services, and direct marketing sectors. The firm makes highly selective investments in companies with strong management teams across a variety of industries, often in areas undergoing rapid transformation. Najafi Companies funds its investments with internally generated capital, not through a fund. The firm is able to move quickly and decisively when investing and make investments that create maximum value for the long term.

About Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is the nation’s largest retail bookseller, and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products. The Company operates 627 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s premier e-commerce sites, ( The Nook Digital business offers a lineup of popular NOOK® tablets and eReaders and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store®. The NOOK Store ( features digital books, periodicals and comics, and offers the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through Free NOOK Reading Apps™ available for Android™, iOS® and Windows®.

General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained by visiting the Company’s corporate website at

P.S. April Fools.

image by MikeKalasnik via Flickr

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Xavier Basora April 1, 2019 um 12:23 am


I for one would’ve welcomed kobobooks buying Nook. I wonder if Koobo did make an offer an either Barnes and Noble blew it off of the American regulators gave the deal a thumbs down.


Kelsye April 1, 2019 um 1:26 am

Ugh. Can we vote on this?

Olivier April 1, 2019 um 4:26 am

That’s a real shame, yes.

US regulators blocking an acquisition by Rakuten would be a sinister joke given that they do nothing about Amazon’s near monopoly. Even after swallowing NOOK Kobo would still be a minnow in the US market.

Suzanne April 1, 2019 um 4:52 am

This is a great way to find out if people read your complete articles or skim. Great reporting!

Nate Hoffelder April 1, 2019 um 5:01 am

it is, yes.

Dwayne April 1, 2019 um 5:00 am

>Selling Nook to a company that wants to combine it with Author Solutions is a deal that is frankly worse >than death. Anyone would have been better than Najafi, including Amazon.

Was about to ask you for some more insight into the above then found out it was April fools from your last line. Looked at the B&N stock before reaching to the end.

Nate Hoffelder April 1, 2019 um 5:16 am

Should I have put a bigger warning on the post, do you think?

Olivier April 1, 2019 um 5:12 am

Well, it is a bad April Fools because at this point nothing should surprise us coming from B&N.

Dwayne April 1, 2019 um 6:03 am

If you put a bigger warning then it would not have the shock factor. It should be fine as is

Mike Cane April 1, 2019 um 6:05 am

TDR and April 1. I knew coming in it was Fake News.

Nate Hoffelder April 1, 2019 um 7:19 am

I figured most people would, yes. I do have a reputation after all.

Carmen Webster Buxton April 1, 2019 um 9:39 am

Excellent April Fool’s post, but you should save it, just in case it ever comes true!

Purple lady April 1, 2019 um 9:44 am

I knew it was April Fools coming in, but the word definitive in the press release gave it away too.

"Najafi Companies. today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Barnes & Noble’s NOOK digital business, a leader in the e-book marketplace."

Jacob April 1, 2019 um 10:20 am

I so want Nook and BN to succeed I was ready to break out the whiskey at 9:18 am. Now I want to break the bottle on your laptop or whatever you are writing on.

May your next coffee keep you awake for two weeks.



Disgusting Dude April 1, 2019 um 10:56 am

Three likely reader reactions:

1- Outrage – How could they?!
2- Shrug of acceptance – Who else would want them by now?
3- That’s right, it’s April first.

Nate Hoffelder April 1, 2019 um 11:42 am

the 3 stages of Nate telling a joke

Lynn April 1, 2019 um 1:38 pm

Read this the first time just after midnight last night and bought it all. And then saw the line at the end. You are a master. 😀

I do hate April 1 though. It’s too easy to believe all the wrong things and then be a skeptic over the real stuff.

Brian O’Sullivan April 1, 2019 um 1:42 pm

You got me, you bastard! 🙂 Well done, Nate! Great article.

Allen F April 1, 2019 um 4:02 pm


Sadly though I wouldn’t be surprised if in three days it does come to pass …

Nate Hoffelder April 1, 2019 um 4:16 pm

me, neither

Ellen Hage April 1, 2019 um 8:51 pm

Ahh Fictionwise…I miss them so much.

Nate Hoffelder April 1, 2019 um 10:22 pm

Me, too – I think they were the better retailer even as late as 6 months before they were shutdown.

Chuck Dee April 2, 2019 um 7:13 pm

One of the reasons that I hate April 1st, and don’t read articles on that date, going into a news blackout.

john April 2, 2019 um 8:56 pm

ahhh, ya got me. I totally bought in. Thankfully, I read all the way to the end. Good one.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/1-4/5 – Publishing Trendsetter April 5, 2019 um 1:00 pm

[…] Barnes & Noble will sell Nook to the parent company of Author Solutions. […]

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