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Nook Shutters Luxembourg Office, Withdraws Nook Windows 8 App – An International Retreat?

3074499444_05843c0797_bWhen B&N first started opening offices in Europe in 2012 it was a sign that B&N soon intended to compete in the global ebook market. Fast forward three years, and we have the news that B&N has shut down its operations in Luxembourg, is that a sign that they’ve given up on that goal?

The Bookseller (paywall’d) reported yesterday that Barnes & Noble’s office in Luxembourg has been liquidated. B&N confirmed the news to me, saying that:

We continue to operate our NOOK business in the U.K.  However, we no longer have a commercial partnership with Microsoft, and, as a result, we are transitioning away from our international business, based in Luxembourg. As we no longer have a commercial partnership with Microsoft, the Win8 app won’t be available in the international markets.

While this is a disappointment, it is not a surprise. B&N only announced its international expansion plans following the 2012 partnership with Microsoft. Outside of the US and UK the Nook store was only available via the Windows 8 app, leading me to speculate that the international store really belonged to Microsoft.

And now that we have B&N closing offices after buying out MS’s share of Nook Media, it would seem I was half right.

So does this mean that B&N is giving up on international markets?

I think that is what is going to happen in the long run, yes, just not today.

B&N is still showing on its website that it supports the Windows 8 app in 30 countries. I also have a first-hand report that the app still works in the Netherlands.

Nevertheless, I still expect B&N to abandon its international customers. Thanks to the boneheaded decision to only support Windows 8, they never had very many in the first place(I had to ask 9 people in and around digital publishing to find one who could confirm the Nook Store was still open in Europe). And with digital revenue dropping to $41 million last quarter, B&N doesn’t exactly have a good reason to keep the lights on anywhere except the US and UK, its two one and a half core ebook markets.

Of course, B&N could always decide to get serious and make its ebookstore available to all the world, but I frankly don’t expect that to happen.

image by James Cridland

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Ebook Bargains UK June 13, 2015 um 3:04 am

"B&N could always decide to get serious and make its ebookstore available to all the world, but I frankly don’t expect that to happen."

Given no other ebook store has managed to be available to all the world it’s a safe bet B&N is not going to be the first.

Nate Hoffelder June 13, 2015 um 6:00 am

True. But B&N could at least come a little closer.

Sturmund Drang June 14, 2015 um 4:15 pm

I really thought Microsoft was going to buy B&N. I even thought they might do something with it. Now it looks like B&N is going to take a couple of decades to go the way of Radio Shack. I wonder why it’s so hard not to run a company into the ground?

Nate Hoffelder June 14, 2015 um 4:23 pm

I thought MS would buy Nook out from under B&N. But I guess it was just too toxic by the end of 2012.

Copyright Crises and Controversies | Digital Book World June 16, 2015 um 7:44 am

[…] Nook Scaling Back in Europe? (Ink, Bits & Pixels) Barnes & Noble closed a Nook office in Luxembourg last week, shortly after buying Microsoft out of the venture. Speculating on Microsoft’s erstwhile hand in shaping Nook’s business in Europe, one industry watcher wonders whether the recent move hints at a broader retreat from that market. […]

The Beginning of the End: B&N Shutters the International Nook Store | Ink, Bits, & Pixels July 8, 2015 um 2:20 pm

[…] the past month B&N has been making us wonder whether it was committed to ebooks. First B&N closed its office in Luxembourg, then it relaunched its website with a borked Nook area, and today B&N has removed all […]

Mercia McMahon July 8, 2015 um 8:10 pm

Nook announced the closure of the Luxembourg office in January. It was opened to access a single VAT rate for all EU sales, but the EU VAT rules changed on 1st January 2015 rendering the Luxembourg office pointless.

Nate Hoffelder July 8, 2015 um 8:23 pm

Yes and no. If B&N were going to stay in ebooks then it would make sense to have an office somewhere like Luxembourg. They would have kept it open.

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