February 19, 2020

Barnes & Noble to Add Google Apps to Nook

Barnes Noble, in an effort to strengthen the digital offerings of its Nook devices, will outfit its color tablets with Google Play, the one-stop shop for Google’s applications and software services, the bookseller said on Thursday.

The move is intended to give Barnes Noble, the nation’s largest bookstore chain, a boost in the highly competitive tablet market after a disappointing holiday season for the Nook.

“It opens up a whole world of content and really gives HD and HD Plus a unique position,” William Lynch, the chief executive of Barnes Noble, said in an interview, referring to the company’s two color tablets. “There’s no question this is going to accelerate sales.”

Barnes Noble executives said Nook owners can choose from 700,000 apps, including Facebook, Twitter and Netflix – even Amazon’s Kindle app.

The announcement follows Barnes Noble’s recent vow to focus more on digital content, including books, movies and popular apps, while beginning to moderate its investment in its digital hardware division.

In the quarter that ended Jan. 26, Nook revenue declined to $316 million, from $426 million over the same period the year ago.

“Of all the things that Barnes Noble could do to expand its potential audience, running the features of Android that consumers like is a great step,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a senior analyst with Forrester Research. “You can’t change the fundamentals of Barnes Noble’s brand and their customer footprint and the economics of their business, but adding more Android features makes this product more appealing to more customers.”

After the recent holiday season, Mr. Lynch said on Thursday, Barnes Noble learned that “the No.1 reason for nonbuyers in the tablet market, as it related to Nook, was the lack of breadth and apps.” That was, he said, “the one area where we were deficient.”

Michael Norris, senior analyst for Simba Information, said the deal with Google will help Barnes Noble do what Amazon has done well: create a comprehensive online shopping center of nonbook media.

“I think Barnes Noble is learning a few lessons from Amazon,” Mr. Norris said. “And that has to do with sweetening the deal and adding value for the consumer. Amazon has always had a greater variety of movie and video content, and I think Barnes Noble is hoping to erase part of their entertainment deficit.”

Barnes Noble’sseven-inch Nook HD sells for $199, and the nine-inch Nook HD Plus for $269.

Mr. Lynch said that Barnes Noble executives had been talking about the possibility of a deal with Google for two years, but stepped up those discussions in the last four months.

To date, Barnes Noble has sold more than 10 million Nooks in the United States; it introduced the product in 2009 as e-book sales took off.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/04/business/media/barnes-noble-to-add-google-apps-to-nook.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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