Nook Tablet, Nook Color Get a Price Cut
So it seems that B&N has been feeling the pressure of the Nexus 7 Android tablet since it launched about a month ago. Word from the retail store level was that the Nooksellers were having trouble moving the ereaders (thanks to the fact that there were so many uncrippled Android tablets in the same price range).
Today we got to see B&N’s response. They’ve shaved $20 to $50 off the price of all 3 of their Nook Color, Nook Tablet ereaders. The Nook Color now starts at $150, and the Nook Tablet 16GB model now costs $200, putting B&N’s leading device at the same price point as the Kindle Fire, Nexus 7 and more.
And that’s not all B&N did. They’ve also removed the Nook hardware from the B&N rewards program. According to one of my sources at a B&N store:
We will no longer be offering a member discount on NOOK products, effective 8-13. Those who renew their membership before then will still get the discount. I do not like this, its hard enough to meet our quota for memberships with the discount.
As nice as this price cut might look, it’s probably not enough. The $200 Nexus 7 still has the Nook Tablet beat on everything from raw CPU power to specs, performance, and available apps. What’s more, there are a bunch of other tablets (ranging from the Kindle Fire to well, everything including B&N’s own refurbs) that are undercutting B&N’s prices.
It’s beginning to look like now might be a really good time for B&N to look for a better way to market their ereaders. The current plan of differentiating the enhanced ereaders from Android tablets clearly isn’t working, so a change in tactics is in order. Perhaps B&N should consider opening up the devices and letting users see the Android tablet underneath?
They might also want to simply get out of hardware entirely; they’re losing money hand over fist at this point and in the long run that is unsustainable. Heck, this might be unsustainable for B&N in the short run; retail is a business with razor thin margins.
Do you know what? At this point I’m not sure any of the mainstream Android devices are making money. Samsung released court docs this week which admitted they were seeing abysmal sales. That is scary because according to Google’s Andy Rubin Samsung was showing better sales than the rest of Google’s tablet partners.
DavidW August 12, 2012 um 10:18 am
As a dedicated ebook/magazine reader with a browser, that Nook Color is priced right. I agree that the tablets will have to do something else, like live up to their name. I wonder what we will see with the KF2? Let the race to the bottom continue!
fjtorres August 12, 2012 um 11:37 am
The fact that Google is doing the Nexus is pretty much an admission that none of their high-profile partners are doing well enough to trust them to carry the android plag in the 3-way tablet war, just as the Surface is proof MS doesn’t trust the *same* oems to carry the Win8 flag.
A lot is made of the fact that android *collectively* is supposed to account for 40% or so of tablet shipments. Which may or not be true. But the bigger question–aside from the sell-through rate–is how many of those are "crap-pads"?
Looking at the sales numbers for FIRE, it is pretty clear people are buying FIRE because of Amazon, not because of android.
B&N unlocking their "Tablets" isn’t going to do them much good because the price spread still isn’t enough to entice Android buyers away from the Nexus. A more likely solution would be to beef up their proprietary reading features to add value as a reader.
Nate Hoffelder August 13, 2012 um 7:26 am
True, and you could probably say the same about the Motorola Mobility purchase last year.
And to think there were blogs speculating on how the other device makers would be pissed about Google getting into hardware.
fjtorres August 13, 2012 um 7:46 am
ACER was publicly begging Microsoft not to price the Surface at $199.
Those asian oems have been playing Google against MS for years now, and somehow they thought MS would stand for it forever.
Fbone August 12, 2012 um 1:19 pm
All three tablets are cheaper on ebay for those interested in a refurbished product. $179, 159, 135 and 60 for the NST.
flyingtoastr August 12, 2012 um 1:45 pm
I would strongly hope refurbs are cheaper than new.
Peter August 13, 2012 um 2:19 pm
I wonder if ditching the membership discount is related to Nook being spun-off as a separate company? It would be hard for the accountants to classify the membership fee revenue appropriately if the benefits are spread across two companies.
Either way, it makes sense that they would end the program as noone (analyst-wise) seemed to cares about it anyways:
When I read "Kindle vs. Nook" articles, Amazon is frequently credited for features they only offer to Amazon Prime members, but the existence of the BN membership program, let alone discounts, is never even mentioned. Why give everyone a $20 discount if it doesn’t factor in to the buying decision?