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B&N Now Abandoning the Blackberry – Playbook Support a Lost Cause

Barnes & Noble have been sending out emails to Blackberry owners this week with a sad warning.

As of tomorrow, the Blackberry  Nook app will no longer be able to buy ebooks from B&N. Anything you’ve already bought will still be accessible, and you can still side-load any content you buy. But B&N have made it clear that they don’t plan to support the app anymore.

Here’s the specific changes:

  • As of October 5, 2011 only previously purchased B&N digital content will remain accessible and available on your device.
  • As of October 5, 2011, you will not be able to purchase and download new B&N digital content on your BlackBerry device via the BN eReader software for BlackBerry. All newly purchased B&N digital content must be sideloaded onto your BlackBerry.* (See below for further instruction)
  • Beginning January 1, 2012, BN eReader software for BlackBerry will no longer allow you to download any new and/or archived B&N digital content directly to your device. All new and archived B&N digital content must be sideloaded on your BlackBerry device.
  • After December 31, 2011, previously purchased B&N digital content that has already been downloaded and/or sideloaded on your BlackBerry device will remain accessible and available to you on your device.

This is actually a pretty big deal. I had to look it up to be sure, but B&N have supported the BlackBerry platform ever since they launched the Nook ebookstore in July 2009. The fact that they are abandoning it is a sign that they don’t believe it’s a platform worth supporting anymore. That’s a pretty damning indication that at least one company lacks confidence in RIM.

Luckily for readers, the B&N app isn’t your only option. I don’t watch the BB sphere as closely as I should, but I do know that there are any number of third party reading apps as well as the Kobo and Kindle apps. Neither is a replacement, but they do make good alternatives.

But this must be really frustrating for Playbook owners; I know of some that have been wanting a native Nook app ever since the BlackBerry Playbook launched early this year.


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Syn October 4, 2011 um 12:15 pm

It might not be that its a BB problem. It could be a Kindle problem. Maybe Kindle and Kobo is outselling them. I know I have a Nook Color, I’ve bought one free books from them and about 40 paid books from Amazon..

Just a thought.

Doug October 4, 2011 um 12:15 pm

It sounds like B&N’s getting rid of the last vestiges of eReader PDB format. Their Blackberry software (inherited from can’t handle EPUBs, and any ebooks downloaded from B&N to a Blackberry need to be in eReader PDB format.

The alternative would be to make an EPUB-compatible Blackberry app, but B&N hasn’t done so. Much to the consternation of Blackberry users.

Nate Hoffelder October 4, 2011 um 12:19 pm

Thanks! I didn’t know about the PDB support.

What’s really odd about the BB support is that B&N have already released a (replacement) Epub reading app on ohter platforms but never followed through on BB. I think that only makes my point stronger. B&N have no faith in RIM.

Doug October 4, 2011 um 4:47 pm

I don’t know if I’d characterize it as "no faith in RIM." More like, "no faith in the development staff." B&N has been struggling to keep their web site, NOOK firmware, and NOOK reader apps all working. They continue to have software problems across the board — sometimes minor, sometimes embarrassingly major. They still can’t get reliable "current page being read" syncing across devices, almost two years after NOOK was announced.

The technical achievements of Kindle Fire are so far beyond B&N’s capability that they’d never even consider attempting such a thing. B&N is fundamentally incapable of supporting much beyond NOOKs, PCs, and iThingies, plus their NOOK Study software. Even their "NOOK for Mac" software was notoriously broken and had to be withdrawn from the market for a number of months.

Mike Cane October 5, 2011 um 7:31 am

That probably accounts for it. I was just reading on Mobileread yesterday how the PDB vs ePub thing might have finally been fixed when using the Nook software under OS X. They kept getting PDBs on Macs.

Alexander Inglis October 4, 2011 um 4:26 pm

It may not be such a big deal, actually. Blackberry Developer conference is being held in a few days and RIM has signalled it will be releasing Playbook OS 2.0 at that time. This runs on the QNX layer, the OS which will be running the next iteration of Blackberry phones to be released next spring/summer.

How does this impact B&N (or Kobo or Amazon)? Playbook OS 2.0 has been promised to contain a robust Android OS layer which will allow B&N (and others) to develop Android apps that will run native on the Playbook within the Android layer. Playbook OS 2.0 will run on existing and future Playbooks.

It’s a simple matter of curtailing development costs for B&N.

Mario Kim August 6, 2012 um 1:00 pm

I have the first Nook reader, and also have a BB Playbook.

It is sad to read that B&N rather to keep their own interests, meaning their intention to sale more Nook colors, than keeping the loyal B&N e-books (and books) readers per se, despite of the reader they choose.

I intend to keep on using my Playbook, and choose to trow my old nook away. I hope more people do so, maybe B&N can remember what people like from them in the first place.

I’m really disappointed.

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