Typically, the holiday shopping season is huge for most physical and online retailers. Amazon for instance racked up strong sales for its Kindle digital readers and tablets during the holiday season of 2013. Things didn’t go as well for competitor Barnes & Noble and its Nook line of readers and tablets.
Here near the end of 2013 the comic adventure universe of Calvin & Hobbes has reached the digital realm at last, being presented as a set of ebooks for several platforms. While it's not entirely clear whether this is the doing of Bill Watterson himself or those that he'd battled for years over the rights to his own artwork, the results are in: three of the most over-produced treasury books of this century are now digital.
It was a bit over a year ago that Barnes and Noble introduced its Simple Touch with GlowLight ereader, something that has become old news as of today as the company announced the Nook GlowLight -- no Simple Touch to be found. This ereader is said to be a complete redesign on all fronts, bringing readers both hardware changes and updates to the system's interface, as well as more seamless page flipping.
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative has been operating for a number of years in an attempt to get every child in a developing nation their own laptop to help their education. Originally, the OLPC was exclusively delivering small notebook computers that were much like Netbooks of a few years ago. OLPC is now working with the XO Tablet and has announced that it has teamed up with Barnes & Noble.
Barnes & Noble has backtracked on plans to axe internal development of new NOOK tablets, promising continued R&D into both black & white and color models, with at least one new NOOK for the holiday 2013 season. The about-face, announced during B&N's dreary quarterly results, comes after the company said back in June that it intended to focus on e-paper models itself and license out the NOOK HD brand for tablet-style versions to third party manufacturers instead. Now, B&N's new CEO Michael Huseby claims, that strategy was "interpreted incorrectly."
Every big internet company has a movie and TV show store it seems, and Barnes & Noble certainly doesn't have a problem joining in on the already-saturated market. The company announced NOOK Video almost a year ago, and they're just now bringing the service to iOS, Android, and Roku streaming devices for free.
Barnes & Noble has slashed the price of its NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight ereader, trimming the illuminated e-paper slate to under $100, and prompting speculation that a successor might be close at hand. The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is now $99 through B&N's official store, down from the $119 the company had been charging for almost a year.
Though the notification from the book company itself doesn't aim to be too much more than a "by the books" set of information, as it were, the resignation of Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch appears under the surface to be at least partially due to his involvement with spearheading NOOK. With the growth of the digital reading industry, eBooks, eReaders, and the like, Lynch's involvement in the environment - and NOOK's relative failure in the face of industry-swallowers like the iPad and Google's own initiatives with pushing books to their Android devices - all seems to have been a bit too much for the company's very recent leadership setup.
Amazon has apparently dropped the price of its Kindle Fire HD ereader-tablet in what appears to be a response to Barnes & Noble's NOOK HD cuts, dropping the 7-inch Android-based slate by as much as 15-percent in the US and UK. The price adjustment sees the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD come down to £139 in the UK (saving £20) for the 16GB model, and to $169 (saving $30) in the US, compared to the latest 7-inch NOOK HD at £129/$149 for the 16GB model.
Barnes & Noble saw NOOK sales plummet 34-percent in the last quarter, and will turn instead to licensing the NOOK brand to future ereading tablets so as to minimize its losses, the company has confirmed. B&N will continue to make the NOOK Simple Touch and Glowlight models in-house, but the eventual replacements to the NOOK HD and HD+ will be the handiwork of other companies, with NOOK branding simply applied later.