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B&N to Expand Nook Store to 10 Countries in Next 12 Months

Barnes & Noble’s plans to partner with Waterstones in the UK might have fallen through, but they’re still going forward with an international Nook Store. They filed some paperwork with the SEC earlier this week and dropped a few hints.

Here’s the key part of the filing:

As part of the partnership with Microsoft described above, the Company, through NewCo, plans to launch the NOOK digital bookstore in 10 countries within 12 months, putting websites onto the screens of tens of millions of Windows users. Once the NOOK digital bookstore is launched, customers in these countries will have access to one of the world’s largest marketplaces of digital copyright content and reading technologies, enabling them to buy and consume books, magazines and other forms of content on the world’s best mobile platforms, including Windows, IOS, and Android. The Company is also exploring opportunities to give consumers outside of the U.S. access to its award-winning NOOK portfolio of reading products through potential distribution partnerships yet to be announced. While there can be no assurances, the Company intends to have one or more distribution agreements in place to sell NOOK devices in certain countries outside the U.S. prior to the 2012 holiday season.

Note that it says they’re working to expand both the ebookstore and they’re working to sign local distributors for the Nook hardware. I just love it when they use the legally required paperwork to get our attention, don’t you?

Elsewhere in the filing B&N mentions that Newco, the new sub created by spinning off the Nook and B&N College divisions, now has 5,283 employees spread between the 2 divisions. They haven’t been reorganized yet into a single unit. I’m still working my way through a second time, but there’s no hint about the next Nook. Of course, at this point I’m merely assuming there’s one coming, but that does seem reasonable.

Now, aside form the number 10 this filing didn’t actually tell us anything that hadn’t already been leaked, hinted at, or revealed by documents filed elsewhere. We already knew that B&N had plans for international expansion (I still think Canada would be a good first step) via paperwork filed in the Netherlands and Germany. There was even a rumor at one point that Thalia might sell the Nook, but at this point that seems unlikely.

Really, the question of Barnes & Noble 's international expansion is a matter of when, not if.  That’s been known for a good 8 months now.

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AlanW June 28, 2012 um 2:41 pm

B&N seems to be going back to the original version of an ebook store, where you don’t sell dedicated reading devices but rather provide apps for existing devices. They are in a bit of a bind otherwise, since they don’t have the infrastructure in place to sell physical Nooks and the B&N DRM locks out most other ePub devices (not B&N fault, since it is available to all vendors, but a reality they have to deal with)

This might work, although I doubt it, but in any case it is clear that getting partners in place before opening an ebook store wasn’t a viable strategy for them.

Alexander Inglis June 28, 2012 um 8:17 pm

Yes, there was nothing in B&N’s dismal year end financial results (which is quoted above) that states it plans to sell Nooks outside of the US. Newco, which gives Microsoft 18% of the total Nook business AND the college bookstores, leaving the other 82% with B&N, is focussed on putting the Nook ebook app on Windows 8 devices, tied to a backend bookstore serving those ten markets which will be built and managed by Newco.

Separately, Microsoft has said it has no interest in putting other MS products in existing B&N physical stores. In fact, it would have no interest in putting Nooks in the hands of consumers in Canada, Germany, UK etc INSTEAD of Windows 8 tablets: it wants to sell its Surface device and use the Nook app to help drive exclusivity. So … no Nooks and no B&N physical stores are likely to appear outside of the US.

Nate Hoffelder June 28, 2012 um 8:43 pm

"Newco, which gives Microsoft 18% of the total Nook business AND the college bookstores, leaving the other 82% with B&N, is focussed on putting the Nook ebook app on Windows 8 devices"

Okay, I don’t get why everyone keeps repeating that as if it’s news when in fact it’s about as important as saying they plan to keep the power on. We’re talking about Windows here; of course B&N is going to do an app for it. Duh.

Nook presto in Italia? E’ più che un’indiscrezione June 29, 2012 um 5:30 am

[…] sembra l’eBook store meno internazionale, pare abbia cambiato le proprie intenzioni: appoggiato dal partner Microsoft, si appresta a espandere le proprie attività anche nel resto del mondo, a partire dal Regno Unito. […]

The Beginning of the End: B&N Shutters the International Nook Store | The Digital Reader July 19, 2015 um 5:23 pm

[…] really comes as no surprise; B&N had only announced its international expansion plans following the 2012 partnership with Microsoft. Outside of the US […]

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