May 27, 2024

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.

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Media Decoder: Barnes & Noble to Offer the Nook in Britain

Barnes Noble, making a long-awaited international push, will sell its Nook e-readers and e-books in Britain for the first time beginning in October, the company said on Monday.

The move will help Barnes Noble compete with Amazon in the expanding e-book marketplace in Britain. E-book adoption there has lagged behind that in the United States, but it is quickly growing, and publishing executives see it as a major opportunity for sales.

But Barnes Noble is a late arrival to international expansion. The bookseller has long focused on building its presence in the United States even as rivals like Amazon, Apple and Borders have looked abroad. Amazon has had a presence in Britain for years, and in May the company made an agreement with Waterstones to sell the Kindle e-reader in its chain of 300 stores. Barnes Noble had been was widely expected to be the retailer to make a deal with Waterstones.

On Monday, Barnes Noble said it would announce partnerships with “leading retailers” in Britain at a later time.

Barnes Noble, by far the largest bookstore chain in the United States, has hinted for months that it would expand into Britain, but has been spare with details of when it would happen. William J. Lynch, the chief executive of Barnes Noble, said in a statement that he was proud to offer Nook products to the “discerning and highly educated consumers in the U.K.”

“We’re confident our award-winning technology, combined with our expansive content — including books, children’s books, magazines, apps, movies and more — will bring U.K. customers the option they’ve been waiting for,” he said.

The Nook store, at, will initially have more than 2.5 million books, magazines and newspapers. Barnes Noble will first offer for sale its black-and-white e-readers — the Nook Simple Touch and Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, an e-reader with a backlighted screen that went on sale in April — but not the Nook color tablets.

Last week, Barnes Noble trimmed prices on its tablets, lowering the price of the 16 gigabyte Nook Tablet to $199 from $249, and the Nook Color to $149 from $169, an acknowledgment of the increasingly crowded market for tablet devices. The bookseller is expected to introduce another new tablet in the fall.

Barnes Noble, which currently has 691 bookstores and 647 college stores, will report quarterly earnings on Tuesday.

A version of this article appeared in print on 08/21/2012, on page B3 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Barnes Noble Is to Sell Its E-Reader in Britain.

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