Nook Sales Are Falling and That’s not a Good Thing

Check out this article: Amazon is Gutting Barnes and Noble.  And this one: Barnes & Noble sells fewer Nooks, retail revenue falls.

If you don’t feel like clicking the links, they basically say that Nook sales are falling and indications are that B&N is having a hard time holding onto its market share in ebooks.

Not good.

Amazon, as the market leader by far in ebook sales, has already shown a propensity to push people around.  Imagine what will happen if they’re the only game in town.

If I have a choice (and sometimes I don’t because Amazon has a bigger library), I buy from Barnes and Noble.  I own a Nook, not a Kindle.  In fact, I am a fan of B&N in general and think that their stores offer a good shopping experience.

Their online platform, not so much.  I often find myself searching for books and recommendations at Amazon before going to the B&N website to make the purchase.

Amazon has mastered the art and science of selling books.  Their website isn’t just a place to shop but a social network all its own.  I don’t see B&N doing anything to counter, or even match, Amazon’s strategies.  Why aren’t they doing any of the following:

  • Offering incentives for people to leave reviews
  • Offering incentive for authors to publish at B&N exclusively
  • Encouraging social use of the B&N website
  • Incorporating some kind of Goodreads-type functionality to help you find books you might enjoy

Case in point of their “if we offer ebooks people will buy them without any more effort on our part approach” — I used to pay $25 every year to them for “membership.”  In exchange, I received a 10% discount on all my purchases.  That made the math pretty simple for me.  If I spent more than $250 a year there, it was a good deal.  Otherwise, it wasn’t.

My wife and I easily spend that in total, so why do we no longer pony up for the membership?  The discount didn’t apply to Nook books.


Self Publishers need someone to step up to offer competition to Amazon, but I’m not sure B&N is ever going to be that company.


8 thoughts on “Nook Sales Are Falling and That’s not a Good Thing

  1. B&N are also limiting themselves with non-US based authors. Although B&N let indie authors publish direct to Nook (as with Amazon’s KDP programme) this is only for authors registered for tax in the US. Which does rather limit the options for both authors and their own customers.
    I know we’re probably a smaller share of the market overall but that means that rather than publishing on Nook my books are only available from Amazon. Seems like they’re shooting themselves in the foot.

  2. From what I’ve been reading, B & N keeps finding new ways to shoot themselves in the foot. There are complaints from authors, on so many fronts that it’s getting difficult to keep up with them. From loss of book covers to reviews being taken over by kiddies for their own amusement, the signs are that B & N really doesn’t care much about their ebook authors.

  3. As a graduate of Marketing, I’ve learned all about the theory of competition.

    Lets just say, if Amazon manage to hold a monopoly on both the sale of ebooks and authors wish to self-publish, we could be in trouble. For without competition, Amazon would have no good reason to changing anything about their services. Competition drives the never ending war for loyal consumers. Competition in business is healthy.

    In other words, if one falls they all fall [that is to say, in one way or another]. Thankfully however, there are still entrepreneurs out there. The likes of Goodreads or, hell, even Facebook manages to become a recommendation engine. And lets not forget, we could all just go back buy physical copies of fiction. It worked back then didn’t it? Okay that’s a little radical, but my point is this, any decent business man in the industry will look at the state of things as go, “Yeah you know, I think I could offer an viable alternative.”

    If more fall to Amazon, others will take their place. It’s the way of the market, my friends.

    But how long’s the wait? 😉 Informative post, Brian.

  4. I just self-published a book with Bookbaby, who delivers to more online retailers than I’ve ever heard of. Amazon promises to post new books in 2-4 days. Everyone else, minimum 2 weeks, some up to 6 weeks. B&N says 2-4 weeks. Amazon actually did it in under 12 hours, followed shortly by ebookpie, kobo, and ibookstore. B&N is the only retailer named to me by a potential customer, who was happy I went with a publisher other than amazon, so she could read it on her nook. But she’ll have to wait.
    I hate to see any industry dominated by one behemoth, but the competition needs to step it up and figure out ways they can serve the consumer better, and tell the world. I haven’t been in this game very long, but so far I haven’t seen anyone doing that.

  5. I have to confess to only owning a Kindle (and free Kindle apps) and my books are only on Amazon’s platform. However, they sell well in the US and UK but not in Canada. Quizzing a Canadian friend revealed the reason: Canadians are loyal and the Kobo was created there. Amazon-only authors need to realise this, and that won’t be the only reason that people don’t buy from Amazon. We all need to spread our wings a little and support other platforms!

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