"Nook's death spiral and Kindle's triumph"
News headlines are done to catch the eye and get clicks and traffic, and this one is a mixture of hard facts with worst-scenario headline.
For a few months though, the stories on B&N's Nook and the stores have not been positive ones and, as a B&N Club member, I do worry about store closings, especially of the one only 10 blocks from me which I really enjoy. See "Could Bookstores Start Charging People to read?" which I retweeted from Paul Biba's twitter alert.
The Nook has been positioned to be a bit of a lifesaver in a digital age, and they have had the smarts to make good hardware while not putting enough time and thought into the software functioning and its features the way Amazon has done for its Kindle (in ways few people know because there are so many features).
Two or three things have stood out as I read about B&N through the last two years.
1. Lack of attention to customer service -- in a severe way
The hardline on no-return of e-books, sometimes even w/ missing pages, is hard to justify.
Amazon has a 7-day return policy for ebooks with problems for the customer as long as the policy isn't abused, and it's automated at the ManageYourKindle page.
The difficulty in getting quick effective help for Nook problems is well known.
2. A completely closed off Nook tablet, unless people 'root' the device, which is not recommended for the latest models unless you know what you're doing.
Again, Amazon's customer-wise here. They allow, for Kindle Fires, installation of apps from "unknown sources" (a normal Android feature) and Barnes and Noble does not offer that feature, restricting people to the company store.
3. A lack of attention to normal opposition-research. At the launch of B&N tablets, they actually bragged that they were 'open' and Amazon was 'not open' and an example given was that B&N would allow access to Netflix and Pandora and Amazon wouldn't. They missed that Amazon had announced IN their tablet launch earlier that Netflix and Pandora had their devices and something would be coming on that.
B&N is too closed to the rest of the world. Add that their comparison charts on their websites had basic errors that favored their device (with negative info in light gray against white as footnotes), and although I'm a member I didn't trust their website statements. I did buy their NookColor and enjoyed it for a year. They could have maintained a lead had they paid enough attention to customer wants and what the opposition is doing.
The linked article, reprinted from BGR News's Tero Kuittinen, mentions that the unexpected *expanded* revenue decline is in both hardware and eBooks and describes the problems B&N faces.
Amazon shares climb
"Amazon shares climb on Kindle e-book optimism" - by Reuters' Alistair Barr reprinted in Chicago Tribune Business.
Amazon.com Inc shares up more than 4% after Morgan Stanley's Scott Devitt issued a research note with findings that "e-book market is a lot bigger than previously thought, and owners of Kindle e-readers and tablets are reading more e-books."
' Devitt estimated worldwide e-book unit sales of 859 million in 2012, up considerably from a previous estimate of 567 million. With almost 45 percent of the e-book market, Amazon likely sold 383 million e-books last year, compared with an earlier estimate of 252 million, the analyst added.
Amazon's broader strategy is to sell mobile devices at or near cost and make money when consumers use the gadgets to buy digital content, including e-books, music, videos, apps and games.
... data from a recent Amazon presentation show that consumers who bought a Kindle in 2011 read 4.6 times more e-books, on average, in the 12 months following their gadget purchase, compared with the 12 months before getting the device, the analyst noted.
Similar data from 2008 show consumers reading e-books 2.6 times as much after their Kindle device purchase, on average, according to Devitt.
The Kindle business, which includes the gadgets and related digital content sales, generated about 11 percent of Amazon's sales last year and 34 percent of the company's consolidated segment operating income, or CSOI, Devitt estimated...'
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