Following just days after Amazon’s announcement of their $139 Kindle Wifi–only, Barnes & Noble is getting ready to go even bigger with its Nook e-ink reader. It’s not about making a larger e-book reader, or even, at this point, creating a less expensive option to compete with the new $139 Kindle. Instead, the Barnes & Noble crew want to expand their in-store displays to better highlight their e-book product. Instead of having the Nook stuffed into a forgettable kiosk in store, B&N is now preparing to make 1,000 square-foot boutiques inside its stores to show off the Nook. They’ll have multiple operating demo units, as well as a range of accessories for sale to accompany the e-ink reader. This gives B&N a slight leg up on Amazon, since the latter is an online entity with little “hands on time” for prospective buyers.
Foot traffic. That’s what Barnes & Noble is banking on now. Then again, after going hands on with the Nook, these same consumers may go home and order the cheaper Kindle online.
Launch of Full-Service eReading NOOK Boutiques in B&N Stores Reinforces Synergy between Retail Presence and Digital Growth
Recognizes Role of Knowledgeable Barnes & Noble Booksellers in eBook, Device Success
New York, New York – July 30, 2010 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, today announced that the company is expanding its in-store NOOK displays to full-service eReading NOOK Boutiques to accommodate this rapidly growing segment of Barnes & Noble’s business. At the one-year anniversary of its entry into the eBook market, the company has gained awards and acclaim with its expansive eBookstore, family of NOOK eBook Readers and popular free NOOK software to shop and read on the most popular mobile and computing devices, including iPad™, iPhone®, iPod touch®, BlackBerry®, Android™ and HTC HD2™ smartphones, HP computers, PC, and Mac®.
The commitment of resources and floor space for the NOOK Boutiques recognizes the significant role that Barnes & Noble stores – and experienced staff – have played in this success, and will better enable booksellers to help customers explore, access and enjoy eReading in stores, where the majority of devices to date have been sold. NOOK eBook Readers continue to be Barnes & Noble’s best-selling items. Consistently strong device sales accelerated recently with the introduction of NOOK Wi-Fi® available for $149 and the new, lower price for NOOK 3G available for $199.
The expansion of Barnes & Noble’s digital strategy has fueled growth across channels. Among Members – Barnes & Noble’s very best customers – the company has seen an approximately 20 percent increase in their combined digital and physical spend since purchasing a NOOK and over a 70 percent increase on a unit basis. The widespread appeal of Barnes & Noble’s NOOK devices and free and popular eReading software has also triggered significant expansion of Barnes & Noble’s customer base, with 25 percent of NOOK users new to BN.com. Reflecting the strength of the NOOK brand, Barnes & Noble is transitioning its entire eReading offering to be NOOK-centric, with the newly released NOOK for Android to be followed soon by an updated NOOK for iPhone, NOOK for iPad, and others in the coming months, along with the soon-to-launch NOOKstudy online study platform and software solution for higher education.
“We entered the eBook market a year ago confident our bookstores would be a huge competitive asset, and a year later, the role of our retail channel in the success of NOOK and eBooks, and the popularity of our in-store eReading features have crystallized this advantage,” said William J. Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “No other company is doing what Barnes & Noble is doing, utilizing its store footprint and innovative technology to add value to the customer’s eReading experience – including unique features such as digital eBook lending, free Wi-Fi connectivity, in-store browsing of complete eBooks and exclusive content, and more.”
Lynch added, “The NOOK Boutique concept was designed to ensure we’re maximizing the growth potential for all channels through our bookstores, which will continue to focus on delivering customers the joy, discovery and exploration of reading in a comfortable, community setting. Our growing leadership in technology and digital content is simply deepening the experience.”
The 1,000 square-foot boutiques will feature demonstration tables and multiple operating NOOK devices for trial. An adjoining wall and large flat panel display will feature video demos of NOOK eBook Readers and display more than 100 accessories, including NOOK covers by popular designers such as kate spade new york, Jack Spade, Jonathan Adler and Lilly Pulitzer. Each NOOK Boutique will be fully staffed by knowledgeable booksellers who will offer book lovers device demonstrations, help customers download Barnes & Noble’s free NOOK software to their mobile or computing devices, and provide ongoing support.
The boutiques, which will begin rolling out this summer and through the fall, mark yet another enhancement to the in-store experience which drives book lovers to visit Barnes & Noble stores. In addition to the unique ability to share eBooks with friends through Barnes & Noble’s LendMe™ technology, NOOK owners already enjoy a variety of in-store programs and promotions, including the beta Read In Store™ feature, which allows customers to browse many complete eBooks for free, and the More In Store™ program, which offers free, exclusive content from bestselling authors and special promotions. Customers take advantage of both Read In Store and More In Store through access to fast and free Wi-Fi connectivity in Barnes & Noble stores. As a result of these and other in-store offerings, Barnes & Noble currently averages more than 2 million free Wi-Fi connections per month in its stores.
Barnes & Noble customers can shop the company’s eBookstore through NOOK eBook Readers, NOOK software-enabled computers and mobile device, and online at www.BN.com/ebooks to access more than 1 million eBooks – from new releases to thousands of free classics – newspapers, magazines and other digital content, all available for immediate download to enjoy within seconds. Customers shopping today will find 199 of 205 New York Times Best Sellers available for immediate download.
The Barnes & Noble Digital Library Advantage
Barnes & Noble’s Lifetime Library™ helps ensure that Barnes & Noble customers will always be able to access their digital libraries on a variety of devices as well as on BN.com. In addition, Barnes & Noble’s use of ePub format and Adobe technology allows customers to read all of their digital content across a growing universe of devices.
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 720 bookstores in 50 states. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, also operates 637 college bookstores serving nearly 4 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. Barnes & Noble is the nation’s top bookseller brand for the seventh year in a row, as determined by a combination of the brand’s performance on familiarity, quality, and purchase intent; the top bookseller in quality for the second year in a row and the number two retailer in trust, according to the EquiTrend® Brand Study by Harris Interactive®. Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com), one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites, which also features more than one million titles in its eBookstore (www.bn.com/ebooks). Through Barnes & Noble’s NOOK™ eReading product offering, customers can buy and read eBooks on the widest range of platforms, including NOOK eBook Readers, devices from partner companies, and hundreds of the most popular mobile and computing devices using free NOOK software.
General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company’s corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com.
NOOK™ LendMe™, Read In Store™, More In Store™ and Lifetime Library™ are trademarks of Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Other trademarks referenced in this release are the property of their respective owners.
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About NOOK™ from Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble’s NOOK brand of eReading products offer customers a fun, easy-to-use and immersive digital reading experience. With NOOK, customers gain access to Barnes & Noble’s expansive eBookstore of more than one million digital titles, and the ability to enjoy content across the widest variety of devices. NOOK eBook Readers are the most full-featured, dedicated eReading devices on the market, featuring a color touch screen for navigation along with a best-in-class E-Ink® display. NOOK 3G ($199) offers both free 3G wireless and Wi-Fi® connectivity and NOOK Wi-Fi ($149) features Wi-Fi connectivity. In Barnes & Noble stores, customers with NOOK devices can access free Wi-Fi connectivity, enjoy the beta Read In Store™ feature to browse many complete eBooks for free, and the More In Store™ program, which offers free, exclusive content and special promotions. Barnes & Noble is the only company to offer digital lending for a wide selection of eBooks through its LendMe™ technology, available exclusively through NOOK eReading products. Find NOOK devices in Barnes & Noble stores and online at www.nook.com. NOOK devices are also available at Best Buy stores and www.bestbuy.com.
In addition to NOOK devices, Barnes & Noble makes it easy for customers to enjoy any book, anytime, anywhere with its free line of NOOK software, available at www.bn.com/ebooks/download-reader.asp. Customers can access and read eBooks from their personal BN digital library on devices including iPad™, iPhone®, iPod touch®, BlackBerry®, Android™ and HTC HD2™ smartphones, HP computers, PC, and Mac®. Barnes & Noble will soon offer NOOKstudy™ (www.nookstudy.com), an online study platform and software solution for higher education.
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