Barnes & Noble is in distress these days and failing to find a solution to save their flailing bookstore business. The company has been in a long decline that began even before their recent CEO resigned his post. With their core business model being disrupted by tech giants like Amazon.com and Apple, Barnes & Noble is left with few good options.
It was with high hopes that Barnes & Noble made a bold move into the digital arena, releasing their tablet e-reader called the NOOK. Competition in the tablet space is fierce. Experienced hardware titans like HP and Intel have tried and failed to enter the massive tablet market, abandoning all hope in the face of Apple’s dominance.
According to tech blog TechCrunch, “NOOK e-readers never managed to beat back competition from the ever-strong Amazon, and the move into NOOK tablets, based on Android, never quite hit the mark, either — a position that only seemed to get worse over time. B&N’s last quarter saw the company report a loss of nearly $119 million, more than double the loss in the quarter a year before. The NOOK division specifically, the thing on which B&N has pinned its future, made only $108 million in revenue in that period, a 34% drop from a year ago. Competition from Amazon and its Kindle products, as well as a host of other e-reader and tablet makers, have weighed down on the company and turned that splash into a thud.”
As an iPhone app developer in NYC I feel its unlikely that Barnes & Noble has the capacity to grow the Nook brand and take market share away from rival devices like the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad. Developer participation in a thriving app marketplace makes a huge difference in the success of a mobile device. There is a strong and vibrant iPad app developer community pumping out amazing mobile software that the Nook could only dream of attaining. The fact remains that Apple has cornered the tablet space and all competing devices face an uphill battle to unseat the long reigning champion.