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Old 02-11-2014, 02:11 PM   #16
6charlong
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BN made no real effort to challenge Amazon internationally, were they could have had some success because the international market was more EPub centric and would have embraced an e-reader that was less expensive then a Sony and read EPubs. The Nook existed before the Kobo but was beat by the Kobo outside the US because the Nook was not an international device. BN just went international at the end of last year as they were shutting down the tablets and it was clear that they had no chance in hell of competing in the US. That is a good 4-5 years after Amazon went international and 3 years or so after Kobo really got into the game.
Kobo began selling eBooks under the name Shortcovers before B&N started talking about eBooks at all, and Shortcovers/Kobo went international almost from the start. They have always been friendly, reliable and have had good CS, especially for a new place working out the problems of selling on-line. I've always thought of them as the real competition to Barnes and Noble, always a step ahead until B&N released the Simple Touch and then the Glowlight. After it's initial success with front-lighted screens B&N seems to have quit trying.

The OP report seems to indicate that something is changing at B&N. I guess we'll have to wait to see just what.
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:58 PM   #17
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Kobo began selling eBooks under the name Shortcovers before B&N started talking about eBooks at all, and Shortcovers/Kobo went international almost from the start. They have always been friendly, reliable and have had good CS, especially for a new place working out the problems of selling on-line. I've always thought of them as the real competition to Barnes and Noble, always a step ahead until B&N released the Simple Touch and then the Glowlight. After it's initial success with front-lighted screens B&N seems to have quit trying.

The OP report seems to indicate that something is changing at B&N. I guess we'll have to wait to see just what.
My point was that BN made many missteps and that cost them and that BN were not on the cutting edge.

Kobo might have been selling e-books but I do not believe they were selling an e-reader in the US before the Nook.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:03 PM   #18
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The Nook Color was ahead of the curve, I don't think there's any doubt there. They had about 1 year of free reign while Amazon scrambled to come out with something that could compete with the Color. There were other tablets out there, but there were more expensive, the Color was the right tablet at the right time, but BN didn't follow through, the Nook Tablet was a poor update to the Color, and the locked down store was another bad decision.
I agree. I had a Nook Color and appreciated the way the BN was starting to leverage their B&M stores with in-store exclusives for nook owners. But when they should've been expanding and growing that connection they were going through a tough time that resulted in closing 190 stores (including the one in my town).
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:46 PM   #19
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Let's see, that leaves Amazon, Kobo, and to a less committed extent, Apple, and Google's minions. Have I left anyone of hardware significance out? does anyone know if Kobo has a cough?
There are many other e-readers brands outside the USA.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:22 PM   #20
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Yes, there are many other e-reader brands. What percentage of the population inside or outside of the US can name one brand that is not Sony, Kobo, Amazon, or maybe Cool Reader. I think it is Cool Reader at least...

Many of those e-readers are available in the US as well.

I think Kobo is going to be around for a while. They are going to be the e-pub standard. Amazon will be the Mobi standard. The vast majority of the population will continue to do what it is doing now, buy from one of the big players, buy books from that players book store and be happy.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:46 PM   #21
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Yes, there are many other e-reader brands. What percentage of the population inside or outside of the US can name one brand that is not Sony, Kobo, Amazon, or maybe Cool Reader. I think it is Cool Reader at least...

Many of those e-readers are available in the US as well.
I'm thinking maybe 5% can think of some ebook vendor aside of the big four.

For a while there, Pandigital had mainstream presence through BED, BATH & BEYOND, Kmart, and Kohls. iRiver had distribution via Target. Several other brands had online presence via major retailers like Newegg and Tiger. Things just got too hostile for hardware-only vendors once Nook went near-cost in mid 2010.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:30 PM   #22
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I just bought a nook hd+ off eBay. After flashing jelly bean on it, it makes a pretty decent android tablet. If nothing else, the screen is very good.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:37 PM   #23
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I think all this discussion of the hardware is a distraction from B&N's real failures, which are their ebook store and ecosystem, which never really took off.
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:59 AM   #24
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I think that BN lost it on hardware, the store, customer service, and availability. To be honest with you, I struggle to see what BN did right.

Things that BN did right:

1) Used EPub so the Nook could be used at the library: This is good, it got some people to buy a Nook and not a Kindle but those people probably checked out more books then bought books from BN. THis only worked to make BN money when they could make a profit on the reader which might not have ever happened but sure as heck stopped when the price point dropped to $125 range.

2) Introduced the Nook Color. It worked for some people as a tablet, especially folks who know how to jailbreak it, flash it or whatever was done.

Things BN did wrong

1) Poor Customer service: Or at least not as good as Amazon.

2) Poor bookstore: They started behind Amazon in terms of number of books and never created a website that worked as well as Amazon's. I have no idea why a bookstore was never able to develop a virtual bookstore that worked.

3) SD Card: Made some people happy because they could carry more books. Downside, most of those people probably didn't buy many books from BN so BN didn't make much money off of them

4) Partitioning the drive: Pissed off people while trying to encourage people to buy from BN. Problem, they had the SD Card slot so there was still no reason to buy from BN but people were annoyed at the transparent attempt to get them to spend more at BN

5) Really late arrival in the international market

6) Tablets: Yes, the Nook Color was a first but I don't think that Amazon created the Fire as a response, I think the Fire was being built and Amazon was making sure it did what they wanted it to do before releasing it. For BN, it diverted their effort from the e-ink reader, the bookstore, and other areas that the time and money that went into the tablets should have been used. They never came close to putting out something that would compete with a full fledged tablet in the mass market.

BN was caught off guard when the Kindle did well even at a ridiculously high price point. I had a K1 so I know how expensive those things were and they sold out, many times. The K2, slightly less expensive then the K1 sold out right away and had a nice long list of people patiently waiting. There was a market for an e-reader and BN missed the opening salvo. They were playing catch up from day one and I don't think they had a long term plan on how to make it work.

Compare Amazon and the release of the Fire. Yes, BN released the Nook Color. It was a nice sort of hybrid device that worked for really basic tablet stuff but was not going to challenge the iPad or Samsung Galaxy. Amazon was working on the Fire at the time of the release. Amazon did not respond by releasing a toned down version of the Fire to challenge the Color, it saw what a lot of people saw, a device that really wasn't going to do all that great. Amazon waited, developed a Fire that was closer to being a true iPad challenger and released that. A year later, they released a true iPad challenger.

BN tablets never stood a chance because they didn't understand the market. BN e-readers didn't stand a chacne because they didn't understand the market.

BN reacted to developments, Amazon led the way or was patient in its response.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:22 PM   #25
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Good points, but you don't give BN enough credit when you say they were only reacting to the market. They had some innovative ideas, like the dual eInk/LCD for the original nook, or the NookColor, which I believe caught Amazon by surprise given how long it took to release the Fire, rather than them just waiting to get it right. Other than that, I mostly agree with your points.
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:37 PM   #26
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The dual screen thing was pretty silly and lasted exactly one evolution. Not exactly ground breaking or trend setting.

Amazon takes a long time to develop new products. They don't rush things, they get them as right as they can. So I have full confidence that the Fire was in the works long before the Nook Color was released and Amazon decided not to rush out something in reaction to the Color
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:11 PM   #27
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I don't know that I buy "Amazon waited until the time was right to release the Kindle Fire."

The first-generation Fire was actually kind of rough around the edges, from the reviews I read. B&N had a slight advantage at that point in that they were competing against a first-gen device with their second-or-third generation device.

In the end, though, the Kindles beat the Nook fairly soundly. I'm guessing that Amazon's reputation and ecosystem and marketing was what put them over. That and the fact that the Nooks that followed the Nook Color were fairly underwhelming hardware-wise.
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:45 PM   #28
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Things BN did wrong
3) SD Card: Made some people happy because they could carry more books. Downside, most of those people probably didn't buy many books from BN so BN didn't make much money off of them
I don't think that was a mistake, it was a selling point which brought high volume readers to B&N who would not have bought anything from them because of the B&N DRM. I may be biased because I am one of those people who won't buy the new glowlight because it's missing the SD card. For something that costs maybe $5 dollars per glowlight, my next ereader will probably be a Kobo, and I'll probably take my future ebook business with me.

I think on the ereader side, the B&N DRM was ultimately a mistake because only a few ereaders not affiliated with a ebook retailer ever supported it. There was no way for B&N to sell ebooks to people with Sony or Kobo ereaders. but Sony and Kobo could sell ebooks to B&N ereader owners.

On the tablet side, I think the biggest mistake was not supporting Google Play (at least on the original tablets). They never had enough applications available to be a successful marketplace when they should have used the tablets to support value added media marketplaces, like ebook, music and video downloads.
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:55 PM   #29
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I don't know that I buy "Amazon waited until the time was right to release the Kindle Fire."

The first-generation Fire was actually kind of rough around the edges, from the reviews I read. B&N had a slight advantage at that point in that they were competing against a first-gen device with their second-or-third generation device.

In the end, though, the Kindles beat the Nook fairly soundly. I'm guessing that Amazon's reputation and ecosystem and marketing was what put them over. That and the fact that the Nooks that followed the Nook Color were fairly underwhelming hardware-wise.
I agree. The kindle fire was basically the same as the color, with a dual-core CPU - so effectively the same as the Nook Tablet, which came about a year after the color. If Amazon had had the fire in the works "long before" the color, then it would not have come out that much later than the color.

And yes, the Nook Tablet was a poor follow up to the Color, it simply improved the CPU by adding dual-core and doubled the RAM to 1GB, but other than that, there was nothing in it.
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:57 PM   #30
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The dual screen thing was pretty silly and lasted exactly one evolution. Not exactly ground breaking or trend setting.
That's besides the point, your statement was that they were simply following the market - they were obviously trying new things, whether they worked or not, is a different point, but they tried indeed to separate themselves from the rest by innovating in some areas.
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