Friday, September 19, 2014

The Silence from Barnes & Noble Is Deafening

So what exactly is going on with Barnes & Noble's Nook and NookPress businesses?

The company claims three companies are courting them to purchase the Nook business. But is there really a business left to purchase?

Microsoft, a forced partner in Nook with B&N thanks to an IP lawsuit over the e-reader's tech, has declined to take over the business.

The Nook e-reader itself is gone, replaced by a Samsung tablet. Could Samsung be one of the suitors? Possibly. After the lawsuits filed against them by rival Apple, the Samsung execs may want to stick it to the house that Jobs built.

But the other two? No idea, though there's plenty of speculation on the internet.

As for known buy-out attempts, the sale to G Asset fell through last February. Since then, there have been no obviouos takers. Also, B&N has been noted to announce things in order to jack with the company's share price. Like Chairman Len Riggio saying he was going to buy the B&M retail portion of the business in 2013. He supposedly backed out over concerns from other shareholders.

Speaking of Riggio, he dumped a huge chunk of his stock last April. That sort of act doesn't show much faith in the health of the company he founded.

Concern about B&N's financial health flared among indie writers when approximately 5% of them didn't receive payments due at the end of August. B&N claimed it was a computer glitch. (Hmmm...where have we heard that story before? Ellora's Cave. Dorchester. Triskelion. Silver. And so on...) But they refused to answer e-mails from many NookPress authors, nor did they make an announcement on the NookPress News page. No, they didn't issue any answer until Publishers Weekly bugged them about the issue. Not reassuring to those of us doing business through NookPress. Not reassuring at all.

The next day B&N rejoiced that their second quarter losses were less than their first quarter's. It doesn't stop the company's steady bleeding of red since 2012.

Even more bizarre was an e-mail I received from B&N (and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who received it). They would give me twenty dollars for every Samsung Nook Tablet that was sold through my affiliate code.

Affiliate code? This was the first I knew they'd finally activated their affiliate program. But this late in the game why would I shill for a company that refuses to answer my e-mails about missing sales?

Then there's the "data migration" B&N announced last Saturday. NookPress would not be updating sales data from Sept. 16th through 22nd.

Again, no explanation for what this "data migration" is. However, reports from customers started trickling in that the DOWNLOAD button to load a copy of the books they bought to a third party app or device had been removed. B&N has already stopped supporting the Nook App for PC. One of the few things B&N had going for it over Amazon, and they yank it with no warning?

B&N's constant stonewalling of information scares the crap out of me. I have no idea what they're doing or why they're doing it. It's difficult for me to make business decisions when a business partner is hiding information. This is one of my biggest complaints about Amazon. However, B&N has taken it to a whole new level.

I've already decided not to load any of my new releases onto the NookPress platform. I'm disappointed to be forced into this position. For the last two and a half years, I've made more money from my Nook books than all other e-book retailers combined. But I cannot deny any longer that B&N is dying.

I'll make the decision whether or not to pull my current books from NookPress at the end of the month. If I don't receive my payment, it'll make pulling the plug that much easier.


  1. No payment bit, yikes.

    Not that this is all that related but I LOVE my Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 and don't see any need for Windows. Android for me, baby.

    I'm loving it.

  2. I wasn't one of the ones hit last month, but I'm waiting for it to happen. My Nook sales have seriously tanked over the last six weeks, and not talking about the usual start-of-school dip.

    Both DH and GK love their Galaxy S phones. They have a lot more features than my iPhone, and now that Amazon Video finally put out their app for the Android platform, I'll definitely switch over with my next phone!

  3. We are loving Amazon Prime, music fun too. I don't do mobile phones, Tim and I share a flip phone but people really dig those buggers. So much you can do and some phones look like tablets. Or Nooks, for that matter.

    Glad you weren't hit.