Barnes & Noble spinning off Nook business


Following years of rumors and speculation, Barnes & Noble has confirmed that it will be splitting its Nook hardware line and its brick and mortar retail business into two different companies. The move will be finalized by the end of the financial year.

After enjoying a modicum of success initially, the Nook series of e-readers failed to maintain their momentum against the likes of Amazon's Kindle e-readers. Barnes & Noble also ventured into the tablet segment with the Nook HD+ and the Nook Color, but these devices failed to attract mainstream consumer attention despite offering decent hardware specs.

Barnes & Noble launched the Nook hardware line following a $300 million investment from Microsoft in 2012 which gave the Redmond-based organisation a 17.6% stake in the company.

The move to split Barnes & Noble into two entities will serve to alleviate strain on the retail side of the business, which is faring relatively better than the Nook division. Earlier this year, it was reported that overall revenue from Nook fell by 50.4 percent over the course of the year, with no new models announced during that time period.

That is set to change in the near future, as it was revealed earlier this month that Barnes & Noble was looking to launch a Nook edition of the Galaxy Tab 4. There isn't an estimate as to when the tablet would be available, but documents filed with the SEC indicate that Barnes & Noble is buying one million tablets initially.

What are your thoughts on the split? Did you use Nook hardware in the past?

Source: Barnes & Noble


Reader comments

Barnes & Noble spinning off Nook business


Sooo... What part did Microsoft put money into? Will there every be anything for MS to gain from their Nook investment? Or dis they just waste that money entirely?

Microsoft invested in the Nook business. Though the article suggests they launched the Nook hardware after an investment from Microsoft, which isn't true. In fact, Nook e-readers and tablets were both on the market before the investment.

The article leaves me more confused than educated. The Nook business had already reportedly been spun off, jointly owned by B&N and Microsoft. Does this mean B&N is simply selling its stake? Or were earlier reports of Nook being made its own company (majority owned by B&N) inaccurate? Enquiring minds want to know. :-)

I think what happened was B&N was found infringing on Microsoft patents. B&N didn't have the cash to pay off the licensing deal, so Microsoft ended up "investing in" (getting part of) B&N's Nook business, hoping Nook would continue gaining marking.* Had it not been for the patent issues, I bet Microsoft would have never bothered.


* At one point Nook was THE reader to own. They were flying off the shelves, while all others, Kindle included, sat there. And then Amazon doubled-down in the game, took the lead, and is leaving everyone in the dust.

Microsoft didn't touch anything, just gave Barnes& Noble millions. No board making influence or anything, just a cash investment only, so wherever you got your information, it's wrong.

No fault of Microsoft, who was a minority owner, from what I can see. For reasons unknown and unknowable, Nook didn't follow Kobo's lead in launching their hardware globally.

What happened to the Microsoft Reader app that was supposed to replace Nook app on Windows Phone foe e-books?

It would be interesting to see if they could incorporate some of the features of the book into the Surface Pro. I love the article view of the book..and it would be awesome for MS to utilize it for reading web pages...have it pop out and look cool instead of the current reading view. Also the built in dictionary and highlights and those features would be nice to incorporate also. Make it uniform across all windows devices including the phones..anyways..just my 2cents....

I really hope this launches soon. I really want a good solid reader app for my Surface.  The Kindle app is very lacking and only can read the Amazon books. At leaset the Nook app will let me open other books.

Same here. I miss Borders. They were so awesome and didn't have their heads planted firmly up their behinds.

Yeah, it was so much better. Faster Wi-Fi, better seating area, better prices, local artist nights, etc. Really a shame it's gone. B&N is so "old people" feeling, I don't even bother going there anymore.

I don't bother either. I mean its not like they sell a wpc magazine to draw me in. :). Plus there's Starbucks coffee everywhere if one really wants that. Which also takes me to that side. Seattles best coffee was to me far better than sbux until they were bought out.

I have the original Nook and I still love the concept of the whole paper white, non-backlit screen, but it is slow and lumbering.  It was a good concept, but with tablet manufacturers flooding the market, why bother creating another also-ran?  B&N should probably just focus heavily on creating the best reading app they can, available on as many platforms as they can and with synchronicity between all.  Compete with Amazon, etc., not on hardware, but on content and presentation.  That would keep with their tried-and-true model of selling books (be it physically or electronically).  Leave the hardware problem to others.

The original Nook is indeed somewhat slow at rendering the pages but the Nook touch is a joy to use.


I really believe reading books in an e-reader instead of a tablet is miles better.

I have the NST with Glowlight. Love it. The light is great to have when I need it, but otherwise I definately prefer to read on it than on a tablet.

MSFT threw money at a burning platform.... In this case didn't work at all, even though the app is better then Amazons', for me it was the pricing difference.

I wish these eBook retailers would spend less time and money on devices and more on making their apps better on the devices I already use. Focus on Win8 and WP8 which let you have your own storefront instead of IOS.

Buy out the Nook catalog, rename it Xbox Books, help save the world by giving achievements for reading. Investment, worth it.

Xbox Books sounds like an oxymoron at first, but, if you think about it, that may actually work really well.

Achievements for reading books sounds downright brilliant. The more dense the book, the more points. Parents could reward reading by giving them more game time.


I have an original Nook and a Nook color. Just never have gotten into reading on digital electronics, no matter how hard I've tried. Just seems MS invested a lot into Nook for 0 return.

I'm confused, didn't they already Spin off to Newco, now Nook with the 300m investment from MS.

So in my opinion this is another competitive thing. We need more than one e-reader in the market. I have all the gadgets to be able to read but I don't want email going off, alerts, etc. while I am reading. They should just stick to the simple touch and glow light. Plus maybe I am wrong but I can read just about any file on nook. Don't believe the kindle has that function.

Well, Amazon has prime where you can get one book a month (on loan), Barnes and Noble offers nothing of the sort.


If the Kindle e-reader supported epub I would have already switched from my Nook Touch to a Kindle e-reader.

I purchased my wife a Nook several years ago, however Nook is limited to where you can read books. We have since switched to Kindle, more options for where one can read books purchased.



I am confused. I have a Nook Touch and I can read books anywhere. I have even been outside the US with it with no issues.

Read it on your Windows Phone. I am not talking about the Nook, I am talking about books purchased for it. Sometimes she does not have a Nook with her. It would be nice to read it on the Lumia 1520. Can't do that with items purchased for a Nook.

Everyone seems to think investment in the Nook business was a waste for Microsoft. I always sort of assumed that Microsoft had an interest in selling eBooks like they do music, etc for their platforms. Now they have an opportunity to buy Nook and not be wrapped up on B&N and their retail store business.

It's a huge win for MS because they can have an eBook store up and running in no time. All the content deals are already in place.

Lately I have beed using Kobo and Freda for my ereader needs.  I wonder when we are going to learn more about that "consumer reader" app that was referenced earlier this year in a corporate report filing.  I'm guessing that will be part of the next release of Office.

Unfortunate, because it seemed to be that on most OS's the Nook app was better than the Kindle app and had many more updates.

The nook tablet is beautiful. One of the first to stick the digitizer to the glass. I left mine on an airplane. Then, they announced new HD models, but halted production. Too bad, the hardware was/still is beautiful however screw the app side. So, if rooted it is a pleasure to watch movies and magazines.

I love the feel and size if the nook HD as a small tablet but the software was to slow so now I'm running CyanogenMod on it. Plus the stock software didn't have the Google play store till later.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

I like my original Nook and now my Nook Color.  I'd buy another Nook.  In my case, I don't care about their functioning as a tablet.  I read books with them and for long periods of time.  I do like e-ink screens.

B&N also has a very nice Win8 app (just updated) which I use when "not close" to my nook.

I can't/won't comment on Kindles, etc cause I don't own one.  They are popular and work but so does the Nook.

I have a Nook Glowlight and Kindle Paperwhite 2. I prefer Nook to Kindle because Nook has a better Windows 8 app that, unlike Kindle and Kobo, supports magazines. Barnes and Noble has a physical bookstores that employ local residents and they have book clubs, readings and opportunities to meet authors. Unfortunately Nook, unlike Kindle and Kobo, doesn't have a Windows Phone app, which I definitely find inconvenient. I would still buy Nook books but my concern is Samsung will not support or produce an e-ink reader and I won't buy from a company that doesn't have an e-ink reader. Will Microsoft still create their "Consumer Reader app" which sells Nook books for Windows 8 and Windows Phone? Will Nook still have an e-ink reader? I had read that there would be no more updates or support for the Nook Windows 8 reading app yet it was updated last week, so what is that about? Lots of unanswered questions, which doesn't engender consumer confidence.

No, I prefer e-ink, however I have a Lumia 1520 with a 6-inch screen which is the same size as a e-reader. I am writing this from a waiting room and I could be reading my Nook book if they made a WP app.

One of the mysteries of the age is why MS would throw all that money at Nook and never create a WP app. MS had a perfectly fine reading app on Windows and Windows Mobile in 2000!, way before Nook and Kindle - remember MS Reader? They threw that away, then threw hundreds of millions at Nook to no apparent effect. Crazy! No wonder MS stock boomed the day Steve Ballmer announced his retirement.

Nook is dead. We loved their form factor but the lack of support for WP and the scent of death that hung about them, combined with robust Kindle Apps, and the Copy cat Kindle PaperWhite staked the deal last Christmas.
Letting your lead evaluate over two years just isn't a business model that works in consumer electronics. While MS looks to have the resources to survive Balmer's asinine decisions, Nook has not. Too bad.

I love nook on windows 8. I brought a paperwhite from kindle earlier this year despite hating amazon simply because I didn't know if buying a nook glowlight would be worth it if they were not going to be around much longer.

I have a Nook Glowlight. I selected the B&N ecosystem over the Amazon ecosystem early on based on better side-loading options with early Nooks.
The Glowlight is useful to me in two use cases: The e-ink (passive) display technology makes a difference for evening and late night reading vis-à-vis LCD displays and resulting sleep quality. This affects people differently, but for me makes a noticeable difference. The second usecase for me is feeling comfortable taking the Glowlight on backpacking trips when I don't want to risk taking my Surface or 920. I can only hope the Nook library finds its way to MS platforms moving forward.

I've purchased 5 Nooks for my household memebers over the last few years. I have enjoyed their reading experience. The fact that they don't have a WP app though has troubled me for some time. I am hoping the new MS Consumer Reader app shows up soon. I've looked the last few days for any news but haven't found anything since it's initial announcement. I would hope also that any Nook books I have purchased will be readable on the MS Consumer Reader. I am getting a little annoid with these propriatory book formats. I still have Palm ebooks that are exclusive to the eReader app on the Palm. Now I have Nook books that are exclusive to another dieing plattform.  

Whilst in the middle of a book, and crushing my then Sony reader ( I was the one), at the time NookHD opened up Google play was cheaper and specs weren't bad. Plus I thought MS investment would do something for my WP & Surface, etc. Nothing. In fact Nook folk seem to have eschewed all winOS. It's only for reading, disappointed Nook never did more

All that for an app thts stupid. They should have that invested into add a book library to windows and windows phone

Does this mean that you can no longer buy Nooks in B&N stores? I'd say that was one of the great benefits. Having a place to ask questions about it with people who know it better than anywhere else. It was helpful for the older set, I've sent my parents, aunts, and uncles there for that reason.  I have a Nook Simple Touch and love it, wouldn't switch it for anything.