Barnes & Noble is a venerable brand in US consumer circles. It touts itself as the world’s largest bookseller and is composed of three segments: the main retail segment, B&N College. and Nook Media.
In 2009, B&N launched the Nook, a product aimed at the upper middle class mother with two children. Overpriced and underfeatured, the Nook tablets have faltered despite the hundreds of millions of dollars poured into the Nook segment of the business.
After poor holiday sales in 2012, it was acknowledged that BN would need to move away [from] developing hardware devices and look toward licensing its product on existing platforms. After the disappointing 2013 holiday sales, BN’s CEO was fired and the Nook Media head moved into the position leaving Nook Media without an internal leader.
Everyone in the business of publishing is holding its collective breath about the health of BN. On the plus side, the largest portion publishing revenues come from the sale of educational books (textbooks and other educational products) but that market is headed for a disruption soon. On the negative side, overall consumer dollars spent on books is contracting. One think tank believes that it will continue to contract over the next five years as consumers shift dollars from higher paid books to self published and free books.