In the bookstore arena, two American giants remain: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Both companies sell dead-tree books and have created their own e-reader brands, and both companies see that e-reader as essential to their future survival. Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch resigned late yesterday, part of an expected shakeup after the world learned that the Nook division lost a whole bunch of money. [More]
The retail archaeologists known as the Raiders of the Lost Walmart tirelessly search the world’s retail outlets for the finest and longest-buried antiquities. What kind of ancient wonders did they turn up this week? Well, good news if you’re a time-traveling hockey scout. [More]
Usually when we hear one big company is interested in buying out another big company, there’s an element of “Hmm, didn’t see that one coming…” But in the case of Microsoft reportedly toying with the idea of paying $1 billion for Barnes & Noble’s Nook business, it’s more of “It’s about time those two crazy kids made formal commitment.” Microsoft already invested $300 million in Nook last year, and it seems prepared to go all the way.
Last week we shared with you the story of reader Brian, who was ready to chuck his Nook tablet and trade it in for an iPad, if he hadn’t been long past the return window. He wanted to rent some movies and watch them while traveling abroad and without Internet access. This seemed reasonable, and Nook documentation explains how to do this, but his tablet wouldn’t let him. A possibly well-meaning and definitely misinformed customer service representative told him that downloading a rental wasn’t possible. They were wrong. [More]
Scott was under the impression that he could rent movies for his Nook HD+, download them, and watch them on his device whenever he felt like it for the next thirty days. Where did he pick up such a wacky idea? I mean, other than Barnes & Noble’s own support site. And the downloading screen in the Nook store.
Only none of it is true. Update: Barnes & Noble has contacted us, and they say that Scott’s experience isn’t what they intended, and Nook users really are supposed to be able to download movies. We’ll let you know when we find out what Scott’s problem was. Second update: The problem was with his MicroSD card. [More]
Just as Best Buy founder Richard Schulze nears the deadline to present his bid to buy the company back from shareholders comes news that the chairman of Barnes & Noble has similar plans for the company he started 40 years ago. [More]
With Barnes & Noble confirming that it continues to continue shutting down around 15 stores/year, it might seem to some like the day of the bricks-and-mortar bookseller is fading. But apparently, consumers aren’t just going online to buy their books — they’re also going to independent stores. [More]
Despite the success of the company’s e-reader, the Nook, Barnes & Noble has been struggling to compete with the Internet with its brick-and-mortar stores for a while now, as have other retailers with physical locations. Another sign of perhaps eventual total doom? The CEO of B&N’s retail group says the company will be slowly shuttering about a third of its current physical stores over the next 10 years. [More]
Marjorie has discovered a really irritating flaw in Barnes & Noble’s online price-matching procedures. As we discussed shortly after Christmas, you can place orders on the chain’s website for in-store pickup, but prices differ on many items between retail locations and the website. Unlike many other stores, orders placed online but picked up in person go for the in-store price, not the online one. This annoys a lot of customers, and may hurt the company’s real-life retail operations. Marjorie discovered an interesting flip side to this, though: she had to buy a gift in the store, even though the online purchase price was $22 lower. When she went back to the store to return it, after her son had lost the receipt, the only price they would give her was the lowest one they had charged for the same book online. [More]
Kyle really liked his Nook…until it decided to freeze up and no longer work. He was unhappy: it was only two months out of warranty, and he didn’t like the only option that Barnes & Noble presented: trading the non-working device in for a relatively small discount on a brand-new replacement. He had purchased a lot of books he uses every day for work on the Nook platform, and decided to take a loss on those and get a Kindle instead. Unhappy with the whole experience, he vented to us about it.
Barnes & Noble’s website allows customers to reserve a book for in-store pick-up rather than buy it online, but bn.com does its best to gloss over the fact that you could be charged more for the book at the store, leading to angry customers who use B&N as a showroom for its own website. [More]
HP’s website has an offer going right now where you can score a free Nook Simple Touch (a $99 value) with the purchase of a new computer. But depending on which computer you buy, you could end up spending several times the cost of the e-reader. [More]
Comparisons of downloadable books and music to their ancient, tangible predecessors are an old, old meme, but sometimes the comparison applies. For example: if reader Synimatik had bought a paperback book a few months ago and picked it up to read now, the book’s pages wouldn’t magically glue shut just because the credit card she normally uses at the bookstore has expired. That’s how it works when you want to read a book downloaded from Barnes & Noble, though.
Whatever benefits an e-book might have over its print counterpart, and no matter how close digital media gets to ink-on-paper, there is one thing that downloaded copy of Moby Dick can’t offer to some readers: The collectable factor. [More]
We put out a call for purportedly “new” books mangled in the shipping process by Amazon, but Kain wanted us to see what happened when he tried to buy a graphic novel at Barnes & Noble. This book had different characters’ origin stories condensed into single pages, so of course they slapped a giant anti-theft sticker right in the middle of one of those pages. But that’s okay–it’s not like people who buy comics care about keeping the books in prime condition, right? [More]
Early this morning, bookstore chain Barnes & Noble announced that it had detected tampering with PIN pad devices in 63 of its stores, and as a precaution has halted the use of PIN pads in all of its stores. [More]
To all the parents of young children out there who are constantly wrangled into making playdates for your kid(s). Just because you’ve scheduled a playdate for your little one(s), it doesn’t mean you can’t also get in some all-important shopping while the youngsters amuse each other for a few hours. [More]