Earlier this week, I turned on one of my favorite TV financial shows and there was Barnes & Noble’s CEO announcing that Microsoft had purchased 17.5% of Barnes & Noble. Their stock immediately rose by 10%. I’m posting some links at the end of the blog to articles about the deal.
This was huge news, I think, because just after Christmas, Barnes & Noble had reported a terrible Christmas season and a 20% stock drop. Most people had pretty much written them off, or at least the brick-and-mortar part of that business. And I already knew that Amazon had owned the 2011 Christmas season with their digital readers.
This is a definite game-changer for B&N. And it might be a game-changer for the whole digital book community. A cash infusion from a rich company like Microsoft might well be the balm that soothes all of B&N’s ills. In addition, Microsoft will be releasing Windows 8 at the end of this year and no doubt some of that technology will find its way into the Nook.
On the same day, I surfed over to B&N’s Web site and saw where they had announced a new reader. The Simple Touch with Glow Light and it retails for $139. Glow Light will enable a reader to read in bright sunlight. No other tablet—not even iPad or Kindlefire—has this feature and I suspect B&N probably owns it. You can learn all about it at B&N’s Web site.
So can a whole new generation of tablets and e-readers soon hit the market?
The DOJ suing Apple and the major publishers for price fixing and then the publishers settling with them is also a game-changer. At this point, I’ve lost track of what Apple has done. I don’t know whether they settled, too.
All of it bodes well for readers. The B&N CEO reported that 57% of books are now purchased as e-books. No one knows how much that number will increase this year, but unquestionably, it will. Shoppers continue to buy tablets and readers, even though it isn’t Christmas. And most of the readers who already have them are huge fans of them. Not only do they love the readers themselves, they also love getting books at a cheaper price. No telling what will be for sale by the time the 2012 Christmas season rolls around. It’s so exciting.
In my house alone, we now have 2 Kindles. And in the past 2 weeks, I’ve downloaded half a dozen free books..
Speaking of free books, I want to also remind you that THE LOVE OF A STRANGER will be a free download in the Kindle store on Amazon on May 14th and 15th. That’s a Monday and Tuesday. You don’t have to have a Kindle. You can download it to your computer, to your iPad or even to your phone if you pick up the Amazon app. I don’t think you can download it to a Nook. Amazon and B&N are in fierce competition on these machines.
So that’s my exciting news for this week. What do you think? I know everyone is happy to see Barnes & Noble saved. But being in bed with Microsoft, what will it become now?
- Barnes & Noble chops e-reader prices for Mother’s Day (news.cnet.com)
- Microsoft and Barnes & Noble take on Amazon’s Kindle with $300m deal (telegraph.co.uk)
- Will Microsoft’s Barnes & Noble deal save the ebook business? (billbennett.co.nz)
- Microsoft takes a gamble and spends $300m on e-book readers (theinformativereport.com)