Leslie Kaufman of NYT looking at the failure of the Nook:
But while tablet sales exploded over the Christmas season, Barnes & Noble was not a beneficiary. Buyers preferred Apple devices by a long mile but then went on to buy Samsung, Amazon and Google products before those of Barnes & Noble, according to market analysis by Forrester Research.
The paragraph just before this one talks about the rave reviews the new Nook received as it went on sale. It’s a solid reminder that sometimes being good just isn’t enough.
Jeffrey Trachtenberg for WSJ:
“In 10 years we’ll have 450 to 500 stores,” said Mitchell Klipper, chief executive of Barnes & Noble’s retail group, in an interview last week. The company operated 689 retail stores as of Jan. 23, along with a separate chain of 674 college stores.
It’s sort of crazy how poorly many once-powerful retail chains are doing — while Apple can’t build their stores fast enough. Just look at that chart in the story.
While Amazon clearly controls the e-reader space, Barnes & Noble continues to beat them to the punch on key technologies. First, it was an Android-based color tablet. Then it was the front-lit e-ink reader.
Amazon has to react, probably faster than they’d like — they’re pushing out a new Kindle not even a year after the last one was released.
Update: As Soroush Khanlou points out, B&N did the touch e-ink reader first as well.
It took Amazon two weeks to do what none of the other tablet players could do for months: create a hit Android tablet.
This, along with the fact that Barnes & Noble will probably soon move into the number two spot in terms of Android tablet shipments suggests something. And it’s not good for Google.
A few quick thoughts:
1) Barnes & Noble makes fun of the Kindle Fire, noting that it looks like a BlackBerry PlayBook — completely fair and true. The Nook Tablet clearly looks nicer.
2) But… the Kindle Fire is still at the magical $199 price point, while the Nook Tablet is at $249. The fact that Barnes & Noble wouldn’t match the $199 price shows you just how insanely low that is — and how aggressive Amazon is willing to be to win.
3) The $50 price gap may not seem like a huge difference but remember that the Nook Tablet also doesn’t have a little thing called Amazon.com and all its related properties.
4) The Nook Tablet specs sound great, but again, it’s $50 more and doesn’t have Amazon.com. Further, at $249, the tablet clearly isn’t going to be good enough to match the iPad. So Barnes & Noble may feel a bit squeezed. They’re not the cheapest and they’re not the best.