Barnes & Noble to Discontinue Own Brand Nook Tablets

B&N to Team Up with Third Parties for Future Nook Tablets

by Anton Shilov
06/25/2013 | 11:00 PM

Due to falling sales of B&N Nook slates, Barnes & Noble plans to discontinue its own-brand media tablets and to cooperate with other technology brands for future products of the kind. At the same time, B&N will continue to develop and sell e-book readers under its brand.


The company plans to significantly reduce losses in the Nook segment by limiting risks associated with manufacturing.  Going forward, Barnes & Noble intends to continue to design e-book devices and reading platforms, while creating a partnership model for manufacturing in the competitive media tablet market. Thus, Simple Touch and Glowlight e-book reader products will continue to be developed in house, and the company’s tablet line will be co-branded with yet to be announced third party manufacturers of consumer electronics products. At the same time, the company intends to continue to build its digital catalog, adding thousands of e-book readers every week, and launching new Nook apps.

The company will continue to offer its existing inventory of its high quality Nook HD and Nook HD+ devices at amazing prices through the holiday.  As always, Barnes & Noble will provide world-class pre- and post-sales support in its stores for its Nook HD and Nook HD+ customers, as well as ongoing software upgrades and improvements to the digital bookstore service.

B&N’s Nook segment, which consists of the company's digital business (including devices, digital content and accessories), had revenues of $108 million for the quarter and $776 million for the full year, decreasing 34.0% for the quarter and 16.8% for the year, as compared to the year ago periods. Device sales declined during the fourth quarter due to lower selling volume.  Digital content sales increased 16.2% for the full year, however, they decreased 8.9% for the fourth quarter due in part to the device sales shortfall as well as the comparison to the The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey trilogies a year ago.

“Our retail and college businesses delivered strong financial performances in fiscal year 2013. 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.  We plan to continue to innovate in the single purpose black-and-white e-book reader 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,” said William Lynch, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble.