Detailed within the recently released, third quarter fiscal results of Barnes & Noble, the national bookstore is planning to launch a new color model of the Nook tablet as early as May 2014. The last e-reader to ship from Barnes & Noble was an updated revision of the Nook Glowlight, a direct competitor to Amazon’s Kindle PaperWhite. However, the general lack of marketing for the Nook Glowlight e-reader and the other tablets in the Nook lineup led to poor sales during the fourth quarter of 2013.
Over the past few months, Barnes & Noble management has laid off more than a quarter of the Nook workforce in order to rebuild the the digital side of the company. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, CEO Michael Huseby said “We have to bring things down a little before we can bring them back up.” Previous reports have indicated that the company will partner with a third party manufacturer in order to create future versions of the Nook tablet. Barnes & Noble hasn’t announced which company will be creating the devices though.
At this time, there are few details on the color Nook device, but it’s possible that the company will refresh the Nook HD and Nook HD+. Both devices are approximately 18 months old at this point and are definitely aging technology compared to Amazon’s release of the Kindle Fire HDX tablet during late 2013. However, the new device could also be a revision of the older Nook Color.
Sales of digital books at Barnes & Noble have been falling for the last four quarters and the company’s overall share of the e-book market is slowly dwindling away. In order to revitalize that segment of the business, Barnes & Noble may have to consider some type of subscription model that offers access to a selection of books for a monthly fee. Upstart subscription service Oyster is starting to have luck with that model and could set an example for a new direction within the publishing industry.
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