June 6, 2014

B&N hopes a Samsung tablet will be less terrible than the old Nook


Photo via Shutterstock.

Photo via Shutterstock.

The Nook has been a sinking ship for some time, but Barnes and Noble is looking to Samsung for a life raft. Hoping to revitalize the ebook division, B&N will team up with Samsung to release a co-branded tablet in August.

The new Nook will be seven-inch color devices priced under $400. B&N is committed to buy 1 million Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOKs in the next twelve months (which they can extend three months if the device is a disaster). It’s not a surprise that more ereader producers are focusing their energy on the bigger, pricier tablet market. Sony gave up on the U.S. ereader market in February and tossed its customers to Kobo.

“Our job and focus is to be a content company, not a device manufacturer,” Michael Huseby, who took over as CEO of B&N in January. Though Samsung is news, the decision to go with another manufacturer isn’t. Huseby spelled out this exact plan in February, trying to take the focus off the failings of the Nook, along with the company’s third-quarter results. (Books: not that bad. Nook: Still terrible.)

As he said might happen, Nook Media will have to move from Palo Alto to Santa Clara and Mountain View, California. This is a “cost-saving measure,” as we’ve heard before, but the total savings are kind of stunning. The move should save the company $10 million annually. Barnes and Noble: hanging in there.


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.