Two years later, I upgraded to the Nook Simple Touch, and the following year, I bought a Nook Color. While my friends and family swore by their Kindles, I was a loyal Nook fan. At the time, Nook and Kindle were running neck-and-neck. Their prices were comparable, as were their features. Both companies offered a quality product at an affordable price. It was anyone's game.
I preferred the Nook because I thought Barnes & Noble offered more affordable book choices (I love Free Fridays), and their format was non-proprietary. I could download any EPUB file and read it on my Nook, while Kindle files could only be read on the Kindle.
However, when it came time for me to find a new e-reader earlier this year, I started doing some research. I compared the latest version of the Nook (Nook Glowlight) to the latest version of the Kindle (Kindle Paperwhite), and I realized that a turning point had happened. The Kindle had evolved into a high-quality, pocket-sized, intuitive machine, while the Nook still looked like a plastic child's toy.
The Kindle offered new features such as X-Ray and links to GoodReads and Wikipedia. It even has a Vocabulary Builder feature that saves the words you look up in the dictionary as flash cards that you can access later.
What's more, I could now check out Kindle books from my local library for FREE with just a couple of clicks. I no longer had to plug my e-reader into my computer to download books. With the Kindle Cloud, my downloaded books showed up on my Kindle automatically.
The Kindle has finally surpassed the Nook in both quality and features, and the fallout for Barnes & Noble is showing up in its sales. Barnes & Noble recently announced that sales on Nook devices were down 60% from last year. Today the company announced that its partnership with Microsoft would come to an end.
It looks like the end of the road for the Nook, unless Barnes & Noble can get its act together and offer a comparable e-reader to the Kindle at an affordable price. But going up against a Goliath such as Amazon could have B&N playing the role of a less-than-successful David.
Below is a news brief from NPR on the split:
Just over two years into a rocky partnership, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have decided to call it quits. The mega-bookseller announced Thursday that it plans to buy out Microsoft's stake in its albatross of an e-reader, the Nook.
Microsoft bought into the Nook in 2012, investing $300 million to earn a share of about 17 percent in its ownership. In the time since, hopes for the deal's prospects have faded. A low point came with news of last year's holiday sales, which showed Barnes & Noble's Nook division plummeting 60.5 percent from the year before, according to Publishers Weekly. In June of this year, the bookseller announced a plan to spin off its Nook unit into a separate company sometime next year — news that was greeted with cheers from investors.
Now, Microsoft will sell its stake in Nook Media back to Barnes & Noble for about $125 million.
"As the respective business strategies of each company evolved, we mutually agreed that it made sense to terminate the agreement," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.
Barnes & Noble stock fell about 5 percent Thursday on news of the announcement.
© Kari Lomanno The Book Reporter
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