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Barnes & Noble To Spin Off Nook Media, Will Take It Public

samzenpus posted about a month ago | from the split-up dept.

Books 51

Nate the greatest writes It looks like the recent rumors about B&N splitting up were true. Along with could-have-been-worse financial news, Barnes & Noble just announced that it's going to spin off its two-year-old ebook subsidiary into a new publicly traded company. The move won't be finalized until 2015, but when it happens the new company is expected to have both existing parts of Nook Media, including the less than successful ebook division and B&N College, which is still managing to turn a profit.

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What B&N needs (0)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a month ago | (#47320155)

is a bald-headed guy to demo the coolness of their products. (Hint: the company begins with teh letter "A".)

Re:What B&N needs (2, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a month ago | (#47320261)

Whew! For a second there I thought you were going to say "M".

Re:What B&N needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47326353)

Writers! Writers! Writers! Writers! (monkey dance) Writers! Writers! Writers! Writers!

Re: What B&N needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47320273)

How about this: Everybody buys kindles. B&N goes out of business.

I don't think the "cool factor" can save them now.

Re: What B&N needs (2, Insightful)

thsths (31372) | about a month ago | (#47320883)

I have both, and the Kindle has an easy of use about it that more flexible Nook cannot match.

Easy of use can be much more important than most geeks think.

Re: What B&N needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47323313)

I have both, and the Kindle has an easy of use about it that more flexible Nook cannot match.

Easy of use can be much more important than most geeks think.

I bow to your experience. However considering all the shenanigans that Amazon has been involved in over the past 5 years or so, I prefer to spend my money in the Nook direction.

I don't find the Nook hard to use, actually.

Re: What B&N needs (1)

kaatochacha (651922) | about a month ago | (#47334661)

My father, a 75 year old senior citizen who never used computerson the job, has no problem at all using a Nook. I can't speak much more the simplicity than that.

Re:What B&N needs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47320305)

is a bald-headed guy to demo the coolness of their products. (Hint: the company begins with teh letter "A".)

no what they need is a physically fit muscular black dude. he can have a bald head too since you can't really do much with wooly afro hair. the women will want his large penis. the men will be envious of his prowess and transfer that feeling to the products being advertised. and the libtards will buy whatever he hawks to prove how inclusive fair and not-racist they are. it's a PR marketing genius victory!!

B&N (1)

OutOnARock (935713) | about a month ago | (#47320197)

Bricks & Nothing?

Re:B&N (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47320301)

Bricks & Nothing?

I wouldn't say that.

See, I've noticed that Amazon, not only is collecting sales tax but, has also raised prices. Many times, when you add in the S&H, the book actually costs MORE than if bought in a bricks and mortar store.

If my local B&N doesn't have it in stock, they order it for me and just charge list price; which many times is LESS than Amazon's with S&H. AND I get it faster than standard shipping.

See, people have been trained into thinking online == lowest price and don't shop. And it's not just books, btw.

Re:B&N (2, Insightful)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a month ago | (#47320815)

Other people have been trained to consider their free time to have no value. There is nothing I could possibly want to buy a a B&N that could provide enough discount to offset the the time I would spend getting there.

Re:B&N (4, Insightful)

xigxag (167441) | about a month ago | (#47321027)

Just because other people do things with their free time that you don't personally value doesn't mean that they don't value it. Some people just enjoy browsing in bookstores.

Re:B&N (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47321229)

Tisk, tisk. don't you know that people are so arrogant on Slashdot that their opinions DO matter? Why else would they be modded up?

Re:B&N (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a month ago | (#47322345)

The post I was responding to was specifically referring to buying things at B&N because of the lower price, and failing to account for the time spent when doing so. In that case my value of my free time is irrelevant to AC's failure to account to count for the AC's value of the AC's free time.

Re:B&N (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47323035)

The post I was responding to was specifically referring to buying things at B&N because of the lower price, and failing to account for the time spent when doing so. In that case my value of my free time is irrelevant to AC's failure to account to count for the AC's value of the AC's free time.

So did you stop hating niggers?

Re:B&N (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47321157)

Fucking 20-something hipster moron.

Re:B&N (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a month ago | (#47321627)

I actually like going there. I do read more on my phone than on dead tree books, mostly because when I find time to read, I usually want to do it now, not whenver I next get to the book store.

GP also raises a very good point. Electronic books used to be cheap enough that it was hard to justify paying for the paper copy just to support a store I kind of like. Now, the paper copies are only a little more, and what the heck, I can grab a coffee while I'm there, browse around, etc. If ebooks stay(ed) cheap, brick and mortar stores would inevitably die. I'd say it's iffy now.

Going Public (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a month ago | (#47320293)

Isn't the aim of going public to get investors? Is there anyone on the planet who is going to invest in the failure that is Nook?

Re:Going Public (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47320749)

You mean other than anyone who has ever bought an Animal Crossing game? (See that other Nook [nookipedia.com] ).

Re:Going Public (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a month ago | (#47321637)

I sure hope so. I'd love to short it. I like B&N, but Nook has been a disaster.

Re:Going Public (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a month ago | (#47321939)

Is there anyone on the planet who is going to invest in the failure that is Nook?

Amazon.

Because they're really close to becoming a monopoly.

The DoJ thought Apple was screwing with everyone by selling ebooks and raising prices. Except well, they seemed to keep competition happy - everyone except the market leader. And it seemed vibrant - you had Amazon, B&N, iBookstore, Kobo, Sony, etc.

Now the DoJ has practically killed the iBookstore by scrapping all agreements and limiting Apple to 1 agreement per 6 months. And B&N is circling the drain, Sony shut down, who knows how long Kobo will stay in the US (they're big outside the US), the iBookstore is crap, ... and Amazon will mop up the ramains.

Amazon's going to soon be a monopsony if you want to sell an ebook. If you think Wal-Mart is bad, Amazon's just become the online version of Wal-Mart because there's no where to go but up (Amazon had 80% marketshare in ebooks prior to the iBookstore. These days, I'd be surprised if it wasn't higher).

Hatchette, Warner Brothers (WB caved), it's just the beginning.

Re:Going Public (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a month ago | (#47322813)

And yet I can read my Amazon-sourced ebook on a Kindle, Android device, iOS device, Windows Phone, WindowsRT device and many others. How many devices could I read my ebook sourced from Apple, Nook, Kobo or Sony on?

Amazon deserves to win the market.

Re:Going Public (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47323333)

And yet I can read my Amazon-sourced ebook on a Kindle, Android device, iOS device, Windows Phone, WindowsRT device and many others. How many devices could I read my ebook sourced from Apple, Nook, Kobo or Sony on?

Pretty much all of them. There's this thing called the "Nook App".

Actually, the epub format used for Nook books is a well-documented standard. More so than the Kindle format. And yes, I know it's possible to read and dissect Kindle files. It's simply that they are more proprietary. And Amazon is a LOT more likely to do things that break, based on stuff like the "Animal Farm" 1984 move.

Re:Going Public (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a month ago | (#47323513)

I can't read Nook titles on my Windows Phone, for a start, and the portability of ePubs are no good if they are DRMed, as most of the Nook store is...

Re:Going Public (1)

dshk (838175) | about a month ago | (#47323833)

I have to sanitize DRM ePubs immediately anyway, so I can backup them. As a side effect, I can read them anywhere, ePub is an open format. Of course, Kindle does not support it, but that is their problem, I simply do not buy a Kindle. Every book which is available on Amazon is available in ePUB too, while the opposite is not true. There are books available in ePUB, which are not sold by Amazon.

Re:Going Public (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about a month ago | (#47323937)

It's not Nook that's interesting, it's the College Bookstore business. Very stable, solid margins.

Re:Going Public (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47326381)

Isn't the aim of going public to get investors? Is there anyone on the planet who is going to invest in the failure that is Nook?

Stock jumped 15% on this news (~20 to ~23).

My advice to readers (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a month ago | (#47320315)

Don't chuck your dead-tree books just yet!
After the likes of Barnes & Noble have done away with them, and some years
of 'Verelendung' (see wiki), all those paper books will regain a new worth.

Re:My advice to readers (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a month ago | (#47322379)

After the likes of Barnes & Noble have done away with them, and some years
of 'Verelendung' (see wiki)...

Wikipedia has no article for this "Verelendung", and the only two mentions of in the entire (English) site are in the titles of listed works by two Germans.

Re:My advice to readers (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month ago | (#47322847)

all those paper books will regain a new worth.

Not all of them. Only the hardcovers printed on acid-free. The rest of them are destined for the dust pile, or to be used for starting fires.

Nook! (3, Informative)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a month ago | (#47320363)

I love my nook. The form factor is perfect, the interface is almost perfect (please let me have several books open at once and let me scribble notes), and I have a snazzy embossed leather covering so they'd better not alter the shape or size of any future models. Also user-changeable batteries for longevity would be splendid. Besides that though screen contrast is the only needed improvement, no attaching LEDs to the inner face isn't the same thing. Actually i could go for customised bodywork too if they made the design moddable.

Re:Nook! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47320539)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROcKPuPvcWU

Re:Nook! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47320709)

what a great show that was :) Reverse!!! Nuns!!!

Re:Nook! (1)

confused one (671304) | about a month ago | (#47321103)

They've already announced that they're no longer going to build their own hardware. The color Nook HD and Nook HD+ series is going to be replaced by a re-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.

Re:Nook! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47331337)

Last I heard they are OEMing their android tablets, but not their e-ink device.

re: Nook! - IT SUCKS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47321697)

Sorry couldn't resist! It's true though. They do sorta suck.

So... if it were economically possible for the Nook side of the biz to make a profit, they wouldn't need to spin it off. They publishing giant is taking a page, (pardon the pun!) from Romney's 'Bane' Capital play-book. They're spinning it off into a publicly traded company, which is going to have their LOSING e-book READER business, and probably a MASSIVE amount of debt, and all the lazy, shifty workers they can't (for one reason or another) legally fire, and they're going to keep all the good workers, (executives, mainly) and all the cash on hand, etc., and cast the Nook business adrift.

My prediction is that the Nook "spin-off" (which should be called JETTISONING,) will SINK pretty quickly, along with B&N's debt, all the losers they'd like to shit-can, and of course, the e-readers themselves. It might float for a few hours, as a seller of Galaxy Tab "Nook's" but in the end... glug glug glug!

Since some readers have web-browsing powers, all any retailer needs to do to make e-book sales is have a reader APP, or a web-based reader. You'll take careful note of how Barnes and Noble are NOT going to sell or spin-off the e-book publishing part, just the part they're getting their ASSES handed to them in.

Anyone remember when the Nook Fire, (or whatever they called that thing,) FINALLY got permission from B&N to have the Google Play Store, making it a more or less true Android tablet, instead of a lousy, short-battery-life having glorified Nook Color with an earring hole in it? Up until then it was almost useless, and by the time they added that it was too little, too late. They didn't do anything about the cheesy, custom-B&N-skin disaster on it, but hey, can't have everything, can we?

It's all going down. Consider this: Why would you pay extra for a Galaxy tab note or whatever, with a big, stupid embossed "n" on the back, when the regular one will probably be cheaper, or the B&N/Nook branded one will be lower powered, or in some other way crippled or hobbled. You don't think Samsung would sell B&N the EXACT SAME PRODUCT they're selling, give them a low enough price to sell them at so that they're the same price or cheaper, undercutting their own sales, do you? It'll either have an inferior screen, or slower processor, less memory, not be able to multi-task... or some other huge annoyance; SOMETHING to keep you from opting for the B&N one over their own. The other possibility is that it'll have the same basic specs, but come preloaded with un-deleteable B&N software, or an annoying custom UI. And... it will be more expensive. In which case, again, why would you want that?

Unless B&N decides to commit suicide by changing things so you can no longer read any B&N digital content on anything but one of THEIR devices, there's no real reason why anyone would or should prefer to have a Nook to any other more multi-purpose e-book reader.

Lemme give you a case-in-point. I had a Nook, (actually two, but that's another story) and some books I bought which I can't get money back for or exchange trivially for paper versions, or copies formatted to work with other e-book readers. I have a Kindle book (because the publisher ONLY offered it in that format) and wanted to be able to read both. Another book I needed for a class, after trying both the Kindle version, and the Barnes and Noble one, I decided to try out the iBooks (Apple's) e-reader. Of the three, the iBook version was the least annoying, the least shitty, so I bought that, returned the others, and got an iPad mini as the replacement for the useless Nook, the almost useless Amazon Nook, or Spark, or whatever they call their ad-delivery-device masquerading as an e-book reader... so now, I can read my legacy B&N e-books, my Kindle e-book, and my iBooks e-books, all on one device, and I can use iMessage, et... ALL... so that's the way I (and I'm confident a LOT of other people) went.

It's part of why I'm predicting the almost instant demise of the new "company" "spinoff".

The book, incidentally was a reference book, and each page was devoted to a different entry. Consequently, because there was no way to get the reader to display it JUST THE WAY IT LOOKS IN THE ACTUAL, PHYSICAL COPY, reading it is a pain in the ASS! Think of a set of flash cards that printed on a sheet, and then were cut down, but where they put the cuts ended up being in the wrong places. Also, navigation sucked. So I'm stuck with this damned thing, because I bought it too far ahead of class, and didn't really find out how much it sucked until after the end of the return period. It's okay, it's still useful, but I wish they gave us an option to display it EXACTLY LIKE IN THE ACTUAL, PHYSICAL BOOK!

So yeah, so long, Nooks! Nice (sort of) to have known you.

Re:Nook! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month ago | (#47322829)

The form factor is perfect even though it doesn't have interchangeable batteries? One defines the other.

Re:Nook! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47326759)

Um no.

Re:Nook! (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about a month ago | (#47331529)

Have you the Nook SimpleTouch [with GlowLight] (the black one) or the Nook GlowLight (the white one)? I just upgraded from the SimpleTouch to the GlowLight and if I thought that the device couldn't be any more perfect, I was wrong!

Actually the new one has a better screen and runs better (faster), but the old one had a better body. I so missed the curved back that I modified the new one to have similar ridges.

Champagne corks pop at Amazon (2)

sehlat (180760) | about a month ago | (#47320719)

B&N bought Fictionwise, where I was buying about $2000/year of eBooks before the publishers managed to kill just about every eBook store that carried their stuff except Amazon and B&N. Neither of them is as well-run or as reader-friendly as Fictionwise and Books on Board were (hint: shopping cart, "tell me when new books by author (x) are available", and store credits along with publisher-over-priced eBooks which could be used to buy more books).

Amazon has more than just books, so they can hang in there, but the Nook division and its former parent company are both doomed.

*sigh* Thank God for Calibre and jailbreaking!

Re:Champagne corks pop at Amazon (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a month ago | (#47322823)

B&N also lost my support when they bought Fictionwise and along with it eReader and my library of 500 odd ebooks - I received an email from B&N saying they were migrating my library to the Nook library:

Thank you for opting to transfer your Fictionwise or eReader Bookshelf to a NOOK Library.

We will continue the transfer process in the New Year, by delivering your transferrable titles directly to your new NOOK Library. If you have already created an account at NOOK.co.uk, then you do not need to do anything more in this process as any transferrable remaining titles will appear automatically in your NOOK Library.

If you have not already done so, please create an account at NOOK.co.uk by January 31, 2013. Please note that we cannot transfer titles until you have created your NOOK UK account and the account you create must use the email associated with your Fictionwise or eReader account. The sooner you create your NOOK UK account the sooner we will be able to populate your NOOK Library in the New Year. When you create your new NOOK UK account, you will be asked for a credit card. A credit card is required to access some secured titles. Please note, however, that your credit card will not be charged for any of the titles that you transferred from Fictionwise, nor for the transfer itself.

Can you guess how many of my titles were "transferrable"? Out of about 500? None. B&N never responded to emails either.

Fuck em.

Took my backups, ripped the DRM off of them and went on my merry way.

Re:Champagne corks pop at Amazon (1)

kaatochacha (651922) | about a month ago | (#47334755)

Oddly enough, were they dead tree books, you wouldn't even have been bothered by the whole thing.
I can get paper books from my local library for .50-$1.00. Searching by specific authors is difficult, but on a sidenote I often find other things to read.
The technology is selling us supposed convenience at the cost of control and access.

Nook e-reader (4, Informative)

JeffElkins (977243) | about a month ago | (#47321353)

The Nook Simple Touch (E-Ink) reader hardware is excellent and IMO way better than the E Ink Kindle. The firmware handles sideloaded epub books with ease and there's also a slot for an sdcard, something sadly lacking on the Kindle.

Re:Nook e-reader (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47322473)

and you can easily root it to install the Android Play store, read the newspaper, install a calculator, check your email, ssh in a pinch, download ebook classics from project gutenburg, and get a bash prompt. All daylight readable with three weeks of battery life if you only keep wifi on when you are using it.

I've owned many electronic devices in my life and being a software developer have a very low tollerance for bugs. My nook e-ink has been one of my favorite purchases and was great value for money since the firesales started. Support the underdog!

Re:Nook e-reader (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about a month ago | (#47322491)

Except you can't get it any more. The only e-ink Nook left is the Nook GlowLight, which removed both the MicroSD card slot AND the physical page-turn buttons.

Me, I'm hanging onto my Bookeen Cybook Opus. It actually has buttons instead of a touchscreen. I don't need gestures, swipes, and text entry. I need 'push here for next page' and 'push here for previous page' and a D-pad for selecting books and working menus.

I've tried the Nook and Kindle touch readers, and they drive me absolutely batshit insane. Touch.. touch... I want the next page. TOUCH. *pagepage* no that was TWO pages. Damnit.

(My Opus can also handle both MobiPocket and ePub, though not both at the same time; it's a firmware flash to switch it. Annoying, but when I started with ebooks MobiPocket was the dominant format.)

That said, the Nook HD+ tablets are actually pretty good hardware, and very simple to reflash with CyanogenMod.

I wonder if anyone makes an e-ink reader with a frontlight AND page-turn buttons? Bookeen lists one, but I can't actually find it for sale anywhere.

Re:Nook e-reader (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month ago | (#47322839)

Except you can't get it any more.

Almost true, but not quite. Amazon has eight left in stock [amazon.com] (and there are several on eBay at about the same price. The price hasn't come down any since release, but it's still a good device.

Re:Nook e-reader (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a month ago | (#47324299)

>Me, I'm hanging onto my Bookeen Cybook Opus. It actually has buttons instead of a touchscreen. I don't need gestures, swipes, and text entry. I need 'push here for next page' and 'push here for previous page' and a D-pad for selecting books and working menus.

I have a 10" Onyx Boox because I wanted the larger form factor, ePub support, and better PDF support. I'm right with you on the need for physical buttons, but the Boox also comes with a stylus that allows faster navigation in some situations.

From what I can tell, every e-reader has their own problems, mostly because of the HTML support of their reader software, but there are also some UI and usability issues as well. The Boox is basically stupid, with no catalog for books, but that means I can just copy books over using the USB connection and build my own structure using the file system. Once you are reading, though, it doesn't get in the way, and getting to the table of contents of a book is the only thing that I wish was more streamlined.

Since changing devices could be painful depending on what HTML is used by your existing e-books, I'll probably stick with this unit for quite a while.

College books making money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47322955)

Who'd a thunk it!

Thanks for the stock tip! (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | about a month ago | (#47323575)

Now I know another stock to short.

Could save B&N! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47323743)

Dumping the Nook might just save B&N. I noticed that since 2008-09, the bookstores have been dumping book inventory like crazy until there's almost nothing left. (You can almost track their book sales decline over the past few years with the inventory reduction.) This was probably so they wouldn't compete with their own Nook. So dumping the Nook off into a company that will probably be acquired in 2016 by Samsung or someone is a smart move. Now get back to selling books!

To survive, B&N needs to:
1. Have more inventory in the store for people to browse.
2. Match their online prices.
3. Have more sale-table books at a low price point to attract shoppers.

Then we'll see if people really like ordering books online instead of browsing and discovering new ones. I think B&N would enter a new golden age of printed books if they did my steps.

The sale table at B&N has become complete garbage over the past few years. They need to get back to the 2008-09 sale table that had actual books you can read, not just coffee-table books and other filler. Heck, if I was B&N I would outright buy Hamilton Books and get their inventory and access to remainders.

It's sad.... (2)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about a month ago | (#47326185)

Back when Amazon was just a book seller, B&N was competing with them toe to toe. But then Amazon just got too big and started using it's leverage to squeeze B&N.

Amazon doesn't get nearly enough flack for it's shady business practices. In some ways they are just as bad as Google and Facebook. Amazon is slowly but surely cornering the market for eBooks. Did you know that Amazon, at any time, can shut off access to eBooks that you have bought and paid for? Did you know that it's impossible to remove a transaction after you have bought something on their website? It's there forever. The new Fire phone is taking information gathering to a new level.

B&N, on the other hand, just strikes me as more of a mom and pop bookstore. Their eBooks use a more open format. I've never really heard anything about them abusing customer data or coming up with sneaky little tricks to gather it. They just seem to want to sell you books. You can go into one of their stores and browse for hours and nobody will say anything. No pressure to buy anything.

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