Publishing and Consultancy
Nooks are nice little devices. Light and stylish, they are covetable gadgets. Nook has also proved to be the only palpable threat to Amazon’s total dominance of the ebook market in the United States. Amazon’s market share still towers over B&N at 60% of the US ebook market, but it’s generally accepted that the only device to make any dent at all in Amazon’s sales was the Nook.
B&N are to be admired. As rival Borders crumbled into administration, B&N were marketing their new e-readers with dedicated and prominent shelf space in their stores, a team of knowledgeable and hands-on staff to advise, in retail spaces comparable to Apple, filled with accessories and gadgets to enhance your user experience. They have proved that there is still a future for booksellers other than the goliath that is Amazon.
Here in the UK Amazon is, without a doubt, the dominant retailer in ebooks. In 2011, Kobo’s launch with high street retailer WHSmith sadly seemed to be a misfire. Kobo had good shelf space and window displays but the device has not managed to ruffle Amazon’s feathers too much. Will the Nook be able to swing some punches at Amazon?
It’s easy to see why John Lewis is B&N’s first choice for the Nook. The chain is known for its dedication to quality, customer service and its discerning customer base. But John Lewis has far fewer retail outlets than Waterstones who signed up earlier this year to stock the Kindle. They are also generally not known as a book retailer. In addition to this, John Lewis already sell other brands of reader in their stores and online. There seems to be no exclusivity on their part in this partnership. There is also no word yet on the kind of floor space John Lewis will dedicate to the Nook.
What we can be sure about is that this will be an interesting Autumn for ebooks. The first and possibly last battle will be played out over Christmas 2012 and will decide how the ebook landscape is shaped in the UK in 2013.