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Barnes & Noble to exit cutthroat tablet hardware business, let partners build Nooks

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
While Barnes & Noble hoped its custom-built Nook tablet could compete with the likes of Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle Fire, continued losses for the bookseller have forced it to exit the hardware manufacturing business, leaving third-party partners to build future Nook devices.

Nook


As part of the company's quarterly earnings report on Tuesday, Barnes & Noble revealed that it plans to limit risks associated with manufacturing hardware. While the company will continue designing e-readers, it will transition the manufacturing of that hardware to third-party partners.

Nook revenues were down 34 percent in the company's just-concluded quarter, at just $108 million. For the full fiscal year, Nook revenues were down 16.8 percent.

Barnes & Noble cited lower selling volume of Nook hardware, while content sales were also down in the fourth quarter, as series like "The Hunger Games" and "Fifty Shades of Grey" boosted sales a year ago."We are taking big steps to reduce the losses in the Nook segment" - Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch

While the bookseller's color touchscreen tablets have struggled against the iPad and Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble has found success with its black-and-white e-ink reading devices. As such, its Simple Touch and Glowlight products will continue to be developed in-house.

"We are taking big steps to reduce the losses in the Nook segment, as we move to a partner-centric model in tablets and reduce overhead costs," said Barnes & Noble Chief Executive William Lynch. "We plan to continue to innovate in the single purpose black-and-white eReader category, and the underpinning of our strategy remains the same today as it has since we first entered the digital market, which is to offer customers any digital book, magazine or newspaper, on any device."

Barnes & Noble attempted to compete more directly with Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD when it introduced a 9-inch Nook HD+ last September. That device has a high-resolution display packing in 256 pixels per inch, and launched at $299 for a 16-gigabyte model.

But Barnes & Noble is currently selling the 16-gigabyte Nook HD+ tablet for just $149, as part of a "limited time" offer. The 7-inch entry-level 8-gigabyte Nook HD has also been discounted to $129, down from $199.

HP took a similar approach with the TouchPad in 2011, when the hardware was discontinued and remaining inventory was sold for $99. However, Barnes & Noble said Tuesday it plans to continue offering its Nook HD and Nook HD+ at "amazing prices" through the holidays.

Despite a surge in competition in recent years, Apple's iPad remains the dominant platform in the tablet market. The company is expected to update its iPad and iPad mini with new models later this year.
post #2 of 43

That's too bad. Less competition. The interesting thing about the Nook is that B&N had a different business model than other tablet vendors. Too bad they couldn't cut it.

 

How's B&N going to survive with only its bricks and mortar store going against mighty Amazon? If it too goes under, libraries will become more precious as a place for reading.

post #3 of 43
Why do they even bother designing the hardware when they have Apps available on other platforms such as the iPad?
post #4 of 43

Good for B&H.  I really feel bad to see those tablet show-case tables with no human being at least try to test it.  Surprised, it had partners to build them and they still continue building it.  

post #5 of 43
Crush the enemy, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.
post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

That's too bad. Less competition. The interesting thing about the Nook is that B&N had a different business model than other tablet vendors. Too bad they couldn't cut it.

 

How's B&N going to survive with only its bricks and mortar store going against mighty Amazon? If it too goes under, libraries will become more precious as a place for reading.

I agree...the Nook along with others had a specific use case......

I have seen people reading in the sun with Nooks and similar products. I could not do that with my iPad.

But then my iPad does so much more....

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post #7 of 43
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Originally Posted by Cletus View Post

Crush the enemy, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.

lol....you watch too much TV.......1wink.gif

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post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

I agree...the Nook along with others had a specific use case......
I have seen people reading in the sun with Nooks and similar products. I could not do that with my iPad.
But then my iPad does so much more....
Were they reading in the sun with the Nook color?

I wonder what partners are going to build Nooks for them?
post #9 of 43
BN has had poor tech support and customer service. The devices are good. It's not the platform, folks. They didn't follow the leaders in support.
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Were they reading in the sun with the Nook color?

I wonder what partners are going to build Nooks for them?

It was the BW Nook in the sun....I was a little surprised it worked so well.....

But then again reading in direct sunlight is a very specific use case.

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post #11 of 43
I actually bought a 16GB Nook HD+ a few weeks ago; all the major electronics retailers are selling them for $150 ($180 for the 32GB model). 9", 1.5GHz dual core, 1920x1280 display, microSD slot. 
 
The stock Nook software is junk, so I installed CM10.1 for the stock Android 4.2.x experience and it's great. The only thing I don't like about it is that the touch screen isn't quite as accurate as on my iPhone 5 or my previous iPad tablets, but for $150 I can't really complain.
 
I mainly just use it to browse the web (I tether it to my iPhone 5 via Bluetooth when traveling) and watch movies. I bought a Class-10 32GB microSD card for $22 to store my movies, which look great on the screen.
post #12 of 43
Consumers vote with purchases & companies react. That is normal evolution.
post #13 of 43

This was more or less an inevitable outcome.  The hardware itself just isn't that great and doesn't compete, and the user experience is not particularly compelling.  The two together ensured that their hardware had to be a loss leader.  As a matter of fact, I'm not sure how they could ever turn a profit designing their own hardware and having it contract manufactured.  Way too much overhead.

 

They were head-hunting me months back for a high-level UI post and I'm glad I didn't bite.  I feel badly for all those people this is going to impact; they just opened a new Nook dev. campus this year as I understand it.

post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cletus View Post

Crush the enemy, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.

Heh.

January 2010 was an interesting time. I remember the debates I had with people who swore up and down that the "giant iPod Touch" would be a titanic failure, a monument to Steve Jobs' reality distortion field. Conventional wisdom was that tablets were dead. That only the Apple faithful would ever buy a giant iPod Touch. Conventional wisdom at the time: tablets will never sell! Steve is crazy! Even Eric Schmidt thought Apple had gone too far.

They are all iPad users now.

Funny how revolutions happen. Now everyone is stumbling over themselves to sell touch screen tablets.

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post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

That's too bad. Less competition. The interesting thing about the Nook is that B&N had a different business model than other tablet vendors. Too bad they couldn't cut it.

 

How's B&N going to survive with only its bricks and mortar store going against mighty Amazon? If it too goes under, libraries will become more precious as a place for reading.

Barnes & Noble is not exiting the e-reader and tablet business. They are merely going to partner with a third-party to develop the product going forward.

post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


Heh.

January 2010 was an interesting time. I remember the debates I had with people who swore up and down that the "giant iPod Touch" would be a titanic failure, a monument to Steve Jobs' reality distortion field. Conventional wisdom was that tablets were dead. That only the Apple faithful would ever buy a giant iPod Touch. Conventional wisdom at the time: tablets will never sell! Steve is crazy! Even Eric Schmidt thought Apple had gone too far.

They are all iPad users now.

Funny how revolutions happen. Now everyone is stumbling over themselves to sell touch screen tablets.

 

The iPad was an exercise in what Apple does best - get the implementation right.  I had many colleagues who were sure iPad would flop because tablets had flopped before.  They couldn't see that the core value proposition of a tablet was an insanely great one... that the problem with earlier devices was that they had failed to implement in a way that made the value proposition realizable. 

 

The details matter.  It's not always about the revolutionary idea; sometimes it is just about implementing the details the right way.  Greatness is an emergent property.

post #17 of 43

Seems to me that the fad-phase of ebook readers is now passing. Yes, there will continue to be users and specific applications, but I think we'll now see a resurgence of hardcopy print books, and the stores that sell them.  And that will please me.  A niche opens to new entrepreneurs!

 

Because no matter the platform, electronic books:

1. Don't make nice presents.

2. Have annoyances that eventually impede casual reading (battery, software, lighting, DRM).

3. Aren't as durable or convenient as a paperback or magazine in the back pocket (or purse).

4. Can't survive the "surprise wave" at the beach as I'm laying there, reading.

5. Aren't as much fun to shop for, as browsing in a cool brick-and-mortar shop on a hot summer day.

6. Require me to remember YAP and login, just to buy a book. (YAP=Yet Another Password).

7. Continue to be over-priced, given the zero cost of reproduction.

8. Don't look nice on the coffee-table or shelf.  ("Books are awfully decorative, don't you think?" --Gloria Upson)

9. Can't be as immediately or conveniently bookmarked, annotated in the margin, or passed around to friends.

10. Don't attract the casual conversation of strangers (such as reading Dickens at the coffee shop, or Juggs at the barbershop).

11. Can't be easily offered as reading material in waiting rooms (hospitals, dentists, etc.)

12. Still can't be read during taxi-and-takeoff on an airplane.

post #18 of 43
Well,speaking for myself, I will only buy a copy of a hardcopy book if it is not available as an ebook. The same goes for magazines.

Not as convenient as a paperback? You have got to be kidding. I used to carry 4 or 5 books on a trip. An e-reader or iPad with hundreds or thousands of books loaded on it is far more convenient and gives me much more choice. Ebooks as gifts work for me.

There is one exception, I'm seriously considering buying the Virginia edition of Heinlein's published works.
Edited by Chick - 6/25/13 at 11:16am
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chick View Post

Not as convenient as a paperback? You have got to be kidding.

 

Not kidding.  To me, convenience means I don't have to worry about it breaking.  I can mindlessly stuff it in my back pocket and go.   And sit down.  And still read it when I pull it out of my pocket.  Nook?  No way.

post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

It was the BW Nook in the sun....I was a little surprised it worked so well.....

But then again reading in direct sunlight is a very specific use case.

 

 

I have an iPad, and it's great.  Yet, I also have a b&w (eInk technology, like the b&w Nook) Kindle PaperWhite for reading outside, in direct sunlight, at the pool/beach/vacation, etc.  For reading-only, the PaperWhite is actually a better experience for that.

 

eInk advantages:

 - don't have to worry [quite as much] about damage, given the relative price.

 - lighter than an iPad

 - can be read in direct sunlight

post #21 of 43
B&N never made their own tablet.
post #22 of 43
I'm delighted that B&N is staying with epaper devices. It's more of a natural for a bookseller than tablets. And, whether they realize it or not, Amazon is leaving an opening in the market that they could fill. Amazon never developed the potential of their epaper devices and seems to have lost interest in them since the Fire came out.

B&N might consider:

1. An epaper-based ebook subscription service. Pay so much per month, and you get to chose from a wide selection of ebooks, particularly popular fiction. Think of a digital book club linked to owning that one device.

2. A built-in calendar linked to a Google calendar. View and edit it online or via the device.

3. On-the-go text-only email. Amazon had something great going with their free, almost anywhere in the world cellular Kindles. Imagine something similar but that, for either free or one low monthly fee, would let you send and receive text-only emails wherever you are. No klutzing with SIMs and cell accounts for each country. The account might even be linked to belonging to that book club.

4. A cellular tower can locate someone within a mile or two. Why not use that location to display a local map with various sights and eateries etc. displayed? Maps don't have to be in color and they don't have to include turn-by directions.

Put all that in a device the size and weight of my Kindle 3, and it'd be small enough that travelers could take it with them in addition to their laptop or tablet. I know I'd love to roam Europe using one of these devices to stay in touch while reading on the go.
post #23 of 43

I love my Nooky, it goes almost everywhere I do and is always by my bed in the night. When I visit London one of  the first places I visit is B&N to browse and then purchase books through the Nook. I know my other tablets can do what the Nook can but the simple interface and single functionality means it does that one thing the best or at least I think it does. Glad to hear their not selling the division.

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post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cletus View Post

Crush the enemy, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.

I'm sure you have a styrofoam sword you could go and play with.

post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

Seems to me that the fad-phase of ebook readers is now passing. Yes, there will continue to be users and specific applications, but I think we'll now see a resurgence of hardcopy print books, and the stores that sell them.  And that will please me.  A niche opens to new entrepreneurs!

 

Because no matter the platform, electronic books:

1. Don't make nice presents.

2. Have annoyances that eventually impede casual reading (battery, software, lighting, DRM).

3. Aren't as durable or convenient as a paperback or magazine in the back pocket (or purse).

4. Can't survive the "surprise wave" at the beach as I'm laying there, reading.

5. Aren't as much fun to shop for, as browsing in a cool brick-and-mortar shop on a hot summer day.

6. Require me to remember YAP and login, just to buy a book. (YAP=Yet Another Password).

7. Continue to be over-priced, given the zero cost of reproduction.

8. Don't look nice on the coffee-table or shelf.  ("Books are awfully decorative, don't you think?" --Gloria Upson)

9. Can't be as immediately or conveniently bookmarked, annotated in the margin, or passed around to friends.

10. Don't attract the casual conversation of strangers (such as reading Dickens at the coffee shop, or Juggs at the barbershop).

11. Can't be easily offered as reading material in waiting rooms (hospitals, dentists, etc.)

12. Still can't be read during taxi-and-takeoff on an airplane.

 

 

You can replace "electronic books" above with "albums", you are making the same wrong invalid arguments.

 

We know where albums stand today, in terms of music sales.  It's pretty clear that books are heading in the same direction.  Perhaps a bit slower than albums, but in the same direction just the same.

 

As far as travel / vacation -- again, ebooks trump actual books. I became convinced of that when I was traveling overseas and wanted to bring 3 books with me.  I was a book purest before that as well, but I simply didn't have the room, and a Kindle weighs less than a paperback.  I figured I'd sell it when I got back and would go back to books, but the opposite happened.  I realized dang convenient an ebook is.  Plus, you can hold it in one hand.  :-)

post #26 of 43
My family love my iPad and we're looking forward to buying the next one, but at $149, this is also a tempting impulse buy!
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Rick_V_ View Post

 

 

You can replace "electronic books" above with "albums", you are making the same wrong invalid arguments.

 

We know where albums stand today, in terms of music sales.  It's pretty clear that books are heading in the same direction.  Perhaps a bit slower than albums, but in the same direction just the same.

 

As far as travel / vacation -- again, ebooks trump actual books. I became convinced of that when I was traveling overseas and wanted to bring 3 books with me.  I was a book purest before that as well, but I simply didn't have the room, and a Kindle weighs less than a paperback.  I figured I'd sell it when I got back and would go back to books, but the opposite happened.  I realized dang convenient an ebook is.  Plus, you can hold it in one hand.  :-)

 

I'm not sure your analogy quite holds up.  At the root, you are arguing that the conveyance medium has nothing to do with the customer's appreciation for the content, and while with LPs that was basically true, I'm not sure you can make that argument as convincingly with books.

 

There is a sort of user experience with books that is not matched by the e-readers; stuff like the tactile feedback, the smell, and the texture.  And, even though displays have improved, they still don't have the same contrast and density as actual print, and that includes the eInk devices.  

 

Although I do think we will see increasing use of e-readers and I think they may even be a major disruptor for the industry, I don't think we will see an end to paper and print any time soon.

post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronstark View Post

BN has had poor tech support and customer service. The devices are good. It's not the platform, folks. They didn't follow the leaders in support.

Support is part of it... but really it's the platform environment.

 

They couldn't charge more... because the android horde sets the bottom.

They couldn't charge less, because they don't have the market cap to borrow against and say 'we can make it up on volume' like Amazon is doing.

They made a great single purpose tool in a world where people want one tool to do every purpose.

 

BN will survive if it doubles down on  books and stores.... tactile beautiful books, and a great venue.   Either that or Amazon eats them up, and gets a storefront.

post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by tt92618 View Post

 

I'm not sure your analogy quite holds up.  At the root, you are arguing that the conveyance medium has nothing to do with the customer's appreciation for the content, and while with LPs that was basically true, I'm not sure you can make that argument as convincingly with books.

 

There is a sort of user experience with books that is not matched by the e-readers; stuff like the tactile feedback, the smell, and the texture.  And, even though displays have improved, they still don't have the same contrast and density as actual print, and that includes the eInk devices.  

 

Although I do think we will see increasing use of e-readers and I think they may even be a major disruptor for the industry, I don't think we will see an end to paper and print any time soon.

 

to finely tune your argument... It's not the content, it's the presentation.   LPs on great turntables are a joy to listen to... but you can't carry them in your pocket.   Books are visually appealing, have gravitas, present information, nay, present _KNOWLEDGE_ in the manner the author wanted it set. (I remember this argument when SGML/HTML and LaTeX was being argued for academic presentations).   

 

Books won't go away, but they will be expensive works of art.   Our method of capturing and retaining knowledge to share will evolve to some future offspring of ePub/PDF/xxML/Memex... but like parchment, calligraphy, stones and chisels, oil and canvas (vs JPEGs and Photoshop), the bound book will be rare for current original format... if anything, we will create 'analog' versions of edocs for the days our batteries are dead, and our powergrid is down (just lost power for 15 hours....  hard to hold a candle up to the face of a dead iPad and read childrens stories in the storm;-)

 

My guess... like chalkboards will disappear in about 30 more years (every school renovation is eliminating them),  books will be 'rare' in about the same amount of time (teachers, librarians, authors in school today will be technically able to use e-books for teaching/writing... and then the next generation will consider it the baseline state of the shelf'  

 

Only the monks and the archivists will cherish the 'antiquities' of ink pressed onto non-laser paper, bound and wrapped with cover art (my wife is an archivist, my schooling was with the monks)

post #30 of 43
Have they started bundling an e-copy with Hardcovers the way they include a digital copy with Blu-Rays?

If not, they should. I much prefer reading a hardcover, but ebooks are so much more convenient. Same with Blu Rays vs iTunes. But if a Blu-Ray includes the iTunes copy and its only $5 more... Then that's what I buy.
post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronstark View Post

BN has had poor tech support and customer service. The devices are good. It's not the platform, folks. They didn't follow the leaders in support.
I personally know someone who has worked for BN for over 10 years and is the go-to person for Nook support. She has taken training courses on nook support and owns several herself. Now this may be due to the fact that her store is the cash cow of my metro area, but I just can't back our argument about poor support, quite the opposite.
post #32 of 43

When B&N invaded color tablet territory they knew they had to invest a lot, and they did. They only had slight success with the first-gen where early hackers found the color Nook very hack-able. With each subsequent hardware updates they keep pissing off the group of people that help put their devices on the map. The latest Nook tablets actually are decent low-end tablets but it wasn't until recently did they unlock it for Google Play store by then it's already game over. Now they are just dumping their inventory. IF they walk away from this experience and learns nothing then we can conclude this management team is going to run the company to the ground.

 

Frankly, I never think they could possibly succeed with tablets again Apple or Amazon for that matter...I knew they would be throwing money away. They keep proving me right about this piss-poor management team's decisions. They like to think they know the tech space but they don't. They think they understand their readers and that is not quite true either. This Nook thing is a giant expensive learning experience for those execs and no one is fired yet! That in itself is a miracle.

post #33 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post


I personally know someone who has worked for BN for over 10 years and is the go-to person for Nook support. She has taken training courses on nook support and owns several herself. Now this may be due to the fact that her store is the cash cow of my metro area, but I just can't back our argument about poor support, quite the opposite.

 

I own both HD and HD+, it doesn't take a lot to support the devices. As long as you know tech well enough, you can resolve most issues. The piss-poor reviews are generally from mom and pops that really has no idea how tablets works and how they B&N accounts are tie-in with hardware. Once I overheard a lady at a store asking why she can't transfer purchases from one account to another. Yup, there's your poor review in the making.

post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

That's too bad. Less competition. The interesting thing about the Nook is that B&N had a different business model than other tablet vendors. Too bad they couldn't cut it.

How's B&N going to survive with only its bricks and mortar store going against mighty Amazon? If it too goes under, libraries will become more precious as a place for reading.
Yes amazon and nook were competing in it, I am surprised how one store will have kindle the next nook, but it seems they have failed.
post #35 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Were they reading in the sun with the Nook color?

I wonder what partners are going to build Nooks for them?

Microsoft has been putting a lot of millions behind the Nook... as if Uncle Fester needs another loss leader.

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post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by droslovinia View Post

My family love my iPad and we're looking forward to buying the next one, but at $149, this is also a tempting impulse buy!

Yeah, yeah, and everyone was saying what a great deal the Nexus 7 was before the memory started going south. 

 

Not only can you buy two Nooks for the price of a Mini iPad but you will buy two in the time an iPad hits mid life. 

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post #37 of 43

While it is sad to see tablets crash and burn, the companies need to realise that they cannot make substandard stuff and expect people to buy it.

 

The way I see it, everything depends on the approach. I don't think B&N approached this with 'let's make the best tablet'. It was more like 'let us make something that sells' to join the bandwagon. In order to do that, they set a target price and worked around that, resulting in cheap components and less-than-stellar software. Not enough thought went into it and the result was what you'd expect it to be.

 

Of course this is all speculation on my part, but in hindsight it does seem a reasonable conclusion.

 

If everybody set out to make the best possible thing, then we'd have something to compete with the iPad. Until then it would just be the same story over and over again.

 

Even the big guys like Google and Samsung need to realise that it is not about trying to be better than Apple. It is about giving your best.

post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Heh.

January 2010 was an interesting time. I remember the debates I had with people who swore up and down that the "giant iPod Touch" would be a titanic failure, a monument to Steve Jobs' reality distortion field. Conventional wisdom was that tablets were dead. That only the Apple faithful would ever buy a giant iPod Touch. Conventional wisdom at the time: tablets will never sell! Steve is crazy! Even Eric Schmidt thought Apple had gone too far.

They are all iPad users now.

Funny how revolutions happen. Now everyone is stumbling over themselves to sell touch screen tablets.

+1 - I remember it also very well in the same vein. The debate raged even here on AI. I even had a heated debate with Dan Snell at Macworld, who also thought that the iPad was going to be a flop, or at most a "niche device". The most amazing thing I took away from those debates, is how many people in tech have absolutely NO vision for the future whatsoever. I mean, don't these guys/gals dream or see where things are heading at all?

I actually thought that the comments buy the tech leaders like Schmidt and Ballmer, were distraction propaganda from their fear. I still do.

Nook is/was a one-trick pony UNLESS you're a tech-head and can root it. Be patient and scratch together the necessary money and get a real reader, and so very very much more with an iPad.
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post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Yeah, yeah, and everyone was saying what a great deal the Nexus 7 was before the memory started going south. 

Not only can you buy two Nooks for the price of a Mini iPad but you will buy two in the time an iPad hits mid life. 

Someone else has been getting around on the net I see ... and browsing Droid Sites. Bad Dawg! 1biggrin.gif

(I've dying to use that link somewhere!) 1smoking.gif
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post #40 of 43

I have an ipad 3 and a Nook HD. The wife has the kindle FireHD.(poor screen)

Yes- I use the ipad for light work (writing, e-trade, etc.) and reading Comics and Magazines (retina = wow. can't be beat)

But IMO- the Nook HD is much better for reading long form books/novels. 

The screen is sharp and bright. It's coated and works very well (better than iPad) outside in the sun.

If you have honestly owned and tried one- it's hard to trash it.

 

I very rarely use it for anything beyond reading- but the online features are nice to have in pinch when I'm out and about the city and do not feel like lugging the iPad.

At a $129 it's well worth a look.

 

I think where B&N missed the boat was developing an app and infrastructure similar to netflix for books/reading.

Why don't they make some deals and introduce an online e-book rental service? 

For $9 a month give the reader access to the online library. One book download at a time (like watching a movie on Netflix)- as many books as you can read per month. Why should we be forced to buy a book? I read a book once and I'm done. (for others- with the service you can always go back and re-read)

 

I imagine there are legal reasons for not doing this.

But if netflix made it happen with Hollywood- I'm not sure why B&N doesn't do the same with major pubs.

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  • Barnes & Noble to exit cutthroat tablet hardware business, let partners build Nooks
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