If you were eyeing a new Barnes & Noble color tablet for a holiday gift, the struggling book retailer has some good news for you. It will continue to produce its line of Nook devices, which includes the Simple Touch and Nook HD, despite an earlier declaration that they would be phased out.
On Second Thought...
In a statement accompanying the corporation's latest earnings, Michael P. Huseby, president of Barnes & Noble and CEO of Nook Media, said Priority One of the company's operations is increasing revenue in all categories, which includes the Nook line.
"We are working on innovative ways to sell content to our existing customers and are exploring new markets we can serve successfully," Huseby said.
"The company intends to continue to design and develop cutting-edge Nook black-and-white and color devices. We will continue to offer our award-winning line of Nook products including Nook Simple Touch, Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light, Nook HD and Nook HD+ at the best values in the marketplace."
At least one new Nook device is in the pipeline for the holiday season, he added, and "further products are in development."
The reversal comes as Barnes & Noble released earnings for the fiscal first quarter of 2014 ending July 27, which showed an 8.5 percent drop in sales to $1.3 billion, compared with the same quarter last year. Nook revenue fell from $192 million to $153 million, down 20 percent.
In June, after revenue from the previous quarter of revenue fell 7 percent to $1.28 billion, then-CEO William Lynch said that in "a sizable change from our existing strategy," the company would focus only on its black-and-white e-readers geared toward serious readers, noting the high-cost of producing and shipping tablets. He said the company would seek a partner for future efforts.
"We want to move away from taking on all that risk ourselves," Lynch said.
Lynch resigned shortly afterward.
"B&N has not done well with the Nook," said technology analyst Jeff Kagan. "Users really like it, however. It's not like it is a failure. It's just not that big in the marketplace."
More Nook Video
While the Nook and Amazon's Kindle emerged on the scene around the same time, "in recent years the Kindle has pulled way ahead and can do more," Kagan said. "B&N has simply not caught on with the marketplace in a big and strong way. The Nook can continue successfully, however just in a smaller segment of the marketplace."
A day before the announcement, Barnes & Noble announced a suite of apps to increase the functionality of Nook devices by enabling users to watch movies and TV episodes from Nook Video instantly with a Nook Video app that automatically appears in their lockers this week.
The apps also enable Nook Video's new content on a variety of mobile devices, including iPads. iPhones. Android tablets, Android smartphones and Roku streaming media players.