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Barnes and Noble Archive
This year I believe we will see a lot of 7″ “tablets” hitting the market from the top manufacturers (i.e. Apple, Samsung, etc.). Amazon has their Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble has their Nook Color and Nook Tablet. Over the past month, Barnes and Noble has offered their products as a “value of the day” on both HSN and QVC. From the discussion that surrounded the sales of these Barnes and Nobles products, I am wondering if there is consumer confusion from normals over which device is the right one to purchase.
Obviously it’s easy to suggests that people should purchase the Nook Tablet which is $50 additional over the Nook Color. These are the same people who probably suggest using Uber to get to Manhattan from JFK. After reviewing the basic comparison between the Nook Color and Nook Tablet on bn.com, it does appear to be somewhat confusing – especially if you aren’t a techy and understand the difference in the specifications. Complicating matters is that both devices look nearly identical and I doubt most people could easily tell the two apart. Engadget has some photos comparing the two devices.
On QVC’s daily value, which offered a bundle of the Nook Color and Nook Simple Touch, the hosts and product salespeople seemed to always stop when they referred to the Nook Color as a tablet. On HSN, the salespeople seem to use the term tablet much more loosely. B&N refers to the Color as a tablet on their website. I believe a number of customers who purchased the devices from both television shopping channels were confused and thought they were going to receive the tablet.
Melissa Perenson at PC World has a good, detailed comparison between both devices and the Kindle Fire from Amazon. B&N also has a comparison of the three devices and naturally the Kindle Fire looks like poop next to the 2 super awesome, most awesome B&N devices.
Using the B&N comparison chart, it appears these are the differences between the Nook Color and Nook Tablet:
- Tablet is 1.7 oz lighter
- Tablet has a dual-core processor, more memory and double the ram
- Tablet has a longer battery life
- Tablet has Netflix pre-loaded
Otherwise the devices appear to be the same. Both use Android but are locked – you can’t install apps from anywhere but B&N.
Lastly, I wonder if this confusion could be costing Barnes and Noble as people go with the less expensive device because they don’t see a real difference between the two.
The market confusion could easily be cleared up by naming both devices the Nook Tablet and adding a LE (limited-edition) or something similar to the former Color device. This would allow for much easier branding by B&N and also make for an easier sales experience because both devices could use the “tablet” term without confusion as to which product the customer will actually receive.
Last week bankrupt book seller Borders announced that they had agreed to sell their intellectual property to rival Barnes & Noble. The big part of the sale of the intellectual property is the Borders email list. No terms of the sale were disclosed but the email list alone contains the contact information for 48 million customers.
Tiffany Kary at Businessweek notes that Barnes & Noble will run an ad campaign in newspapers to alert customers that they have until October 15, 2011 to opt-out — otherwise their contact information (even if you selected not to share the info) will be transferred to Barnes & Noble.
Today Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch began emailing customers to let them know of the intellectual property and customer data sale from Borders. The email, which I’ve partially included below, notes that you have until October 15, 2011 to opt-out from the data transfer.
If you want to opt-out of the data transfer, visit this site, ignore the sales pitches and make sure to click the confirmation link. For some reason, B&N feels it necessary to send you an email to confirm that you want to actually be unsubscribed and opt-out from the data transfer.
Based on the marketing messages in both the email and on their opt-out site, I am assuming you will get a bunch of emails once the data transfer takes place.
The textbooks market is really heating up over the past few months. The startup in the space, Chegg, recently raised $57 million in venture capital. Earlier this month Amazon launched a textbook trade-in service.
Today Barnes & Noble launched a program to attempt to woo students over to their side of the field. The program offers students 10 free music downloads when they purchase their textbooks on bn.com. And if the student is willing to spam their friends, they will get a bonus 10 music downloads.
There are thirty artists to pick from. Honestly I’ve never heard of any of these artists – here’s the full list: Vampire Weekend, Neko Case, Diane Birch, Phoenix, Grizzly Bear, Gossip, Devendra Banhart, Tegan And Sara, Swell Season, Tom Waits, Alec Ounsworth, Mayer Hawthorne, Polly Scattergood, Amanda Blank, White Demin, Black Lips, Au Revoir Simone, The Raveonettes, Cage, King Khan And The Shrines, Temper Trap, White Rabbits, Cage The Elephant, Jonah Sees In Color, Metric, Avett Brothers, Wale, Chester French. Built To Spill, Fanfarlo and Brandi Carlile.
Most of the songs are available on Amie Street for 34 cents to $1.29 each. Considering that next week all of the calendars will be 50-80% off, why not throw in a nice calendar when a student buys a book? I am guessing the students already have the music they want and the calendar will make sure they don’t miss their exams and B&N could have created a calendar with monthly coupons and offers.
Online bookshop Barnes and Noble has announced the launch of "Blogging Booksellers" today. This new blogging area is part of the Barnes and Noble Studio.
The idea is to take the "booksellers" found in local stores and bring their expertise to the Web using the blogging medium. The initial launch will feature 11 bloggers from across the country and the company says they intend to add more over time.
Here’s one snippet I thought was rather interesting from the relase:
Additionally, the “Store Locator” on Barnes & Noble.com now allows visitors to identify stores with Blogging Booksellers in residence – a unique way for consumers to find their local “celeb” bloggers.
I like the idea of allowing local employees to write about books and other media. My hope is that the blogs aren’t limited to only what B&N sells and will also feature a good deal of local flavor. Perhaps all of the blogging booksellers could come together to review books across multiple areas of the U.S.
Bookseller Barnes & Noble has announced the launch of digital magazine downloads today. The company says the magazines will be at discounts "up to" 90% below normal printed retail. While I don’t know the actual figures, I have to believe that printing and mailing make up a decent amount of a magazine’s cost.
Years ago I remember some magazine (forget which) providing an immediate digital copy on the day of printing and then your printed copy would still arrive in the mail several days later. This is the model I see working. Barnes & Noble will also offer over 12,000 past issues — this could be a strong winner for those individuals doing research.
MG over at VentureBeat has the details on Zinio, the company powering these very exciting digital downloads. MG says the issue here is whether people will want to read magazines online. The issue is completely different in my opinion. With the ability to pick up nearly any magazine for pennies at FatWallet (and other cheap subs sites) and/or the ability to get many magazines for free, what’s the benefit to downloading the magazine? If you say it’s to get the content faster, hogwash — the content from the magazine is almost always available on the Web site even before the magazine hits the news stand.
For me printed magazines work when the laptop doesn’t — subway and airplanes up to 10,000 feet. How will a digital version replace these? Free with ads or free with print subscription are the only ways this digital magazine option might work.