Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Conclude Their Nook Partnership

In 2012, Microsoft invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division, a deal which valued the Nook business at $1.7 billion. The plan was for Microsoft to continue investing, while Barnes & Noble would create content for Microsoft products. Since the initial deal, the Nook business has lost more than half its value (revenue fell 41 percent in the most recent quarter compared to last year). Yesterday, the two companies ended the partnership, with Barnes & Noble buying out Microsoft for $120 million. Continue reading Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Conclude Their Nook Partnership

Pew Research: Tablets and E-Readers See Significant Increase

According to new figures released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the number of Americans 16 and older who now own a tablet or e-book reader currently stands at 43 percent. The number of tablet owners has grown to 35 percent, while the share of e-reader devices has grown to 24 percent. Pew Research notes that device owners tend to live in upper-income households and have relatively high levels of education. The numbers also indicate that women are more likely to own e-readers. Continue reading Pew Research: Tablets and E-Readers See Significant Increase

UltraViolet: Retailer MovieStop Launches New Digital Platform

Atlanta-based MovieStop, with 44 stores in 10 states, is launching a new digital platform that offers electronic sales of movies and TV shows, many to include UltraViolet functionality. MovieStop has been running a buy, sell, trade business model since 2004 that originated during its time as a subsidiary of video game retailer GameStop. It has partnered with Philadelphia-based in the joint venture. FlixFling operates a cloud-based digital locker for independent movies. Continue reading UltraViolet: Retailer MovieStop Launches New Digital Platform

Amazon Updates Kindle E-Reader Line with New Paperwhite

Amazon unveiled its latest Kindle e-reader this week, an updated Paperwhite with improved front-screen lighting, greater contrast, more responsive touch panel and faster processor. Software updates will include integration of book recommendation site Goodreads, which the company purchased earlier this year. The new device is available for preorder for $119 — or $139 without ads — and will ship later this month. The $189 3G version will be released on November 5th. The online retailer also announced a program for buying discounted e-books. Continue reading Amazon Updates Kindle E-Reader Line with New Paperwhite

Nook Video Apps Now Available for iPad and Android Tablets

Now that Barnes & Noble is getting out of the tablet business, the company announced it is launching free Nook Video Apps for Android, iOS and Roku devices. The new apps enable users to purchase or rent movies for streaming and includes integration with individuals’ UltraViolet collections. No longer keeping content exclusive to Nook devices, the retailer has also updated its Android and iOS e-reader apps with the ability to read Nook Comics titles, previously not available outside of the Nook ecosystem. Continue reading Nook Video Apps Now Available for iPad and Android Tablets

In the Wake of Heavy Losses, Future of Nook is Uncertain

Barnes & Noble announced this week that it will stop producing its own color tablet e-reader, the Nook, in favor of third party, co-branded devices. The company’s decision may reflect a trend in the decline of dedicated e-readers competing with the growing popularity of tablet devices. Consumers are looking to tablets, which have more features and apps available, including e-reader capability, compared to standalone e-readers. Continue reading In the Wake of Heavy Losses, Future of Nook is Uncertain

Microsoft Reportedly to Pay $1 Billion for Nook Digital Assets

According to internal documents obtained by TechCrunch, Microsoft is pursuing a $1 billion purchase of the digital assets of Nook Media LLC, the digital book joint venture between Barnes & Noble and investors. “In this plan, Microsoft would redeem preferred units in Nook Media, which also includes a college book division, leaving it with the digital operation — e-books, as well as Nook e-readers and tablets.” Continue reading Microsoft Reportedly to Pay $1 Billion for Nook Digital Assets

CES 2013: DECE Counts 9 Million UltraViolet Account Holders

Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem’s UltraViolet launched in October 2011 and at the 2013 International CES, attendees can expect to hear news and updates from consortium members about the rollout, support and its Common File Format. A booth located in the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center will offer live demonstrations and an opportunity for CES attendees to register for UltraViolet accounts. Continue reading CES 2013: DECE Counts 9 Million UltraViolet Account Holders

CES 2013: Entertainment Trends Drive New Technologies

With entertainment spending growing to $18.7 billion according to IHS Screen Digest, the entertainment industry is reaping the rewards of offering consumers more choice and options in how they consume content. TV Everywhere’s multi-channel, multi-device approach is finally complementing rather than cannibalizing. The year saw strong growth in Blu-ray discs. UltraViolet’s 7 million households and 8,500 titles now position the format to grow significantly in 2013. Video streaming or SVOD tripled in the first three quarters of the year to an estimated $1.7 billion. And studios continue to experiment with their windowing strategies for electronic sell-through. In this environment, the CE industry continues to respond and innovate. Continue reading CES 2013: Entertainment Trends Drive New Technologies

Will New $99 Kobo E-Reader Compete?

  • Kobo announced it will release its $99 Kobo Touch with Offers in time for the holiday season.
  • The 6-inch e-reader is the same as the company’s $130 offering, but “the screen will display ads when it is in sleep mode or turned off, as well as in what the company mysteriously refers to as ‘discreet places,'” reports VentureBeat.
  • The device “will be a direct competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Touch with Special Offers and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Simple Touch,” suggests the article.
  • Although not widely known in the U.S., Kobo hopes to change that with unique features such as support for HTML, RTF and various image files.
  • According to the article: “Just last week, the Canada-based e-reader manufacturer was acquired for $315 million in cash by Rakuten, the largest online shopping mall operator in Japan, which may help the reader become an international hit. As for this season’s e-reader wars in the U.S., it’s still a scrappy underdog.”

Time Inc. to Offer its Magazines on Multiple Platforms

  • Time Inc. announced it will offer all of its 21 magazines including Time, Sports Illustrated, People and Fortune on just about every tablet platform.
  • Look for Time’s publications on iTunes, Android’s store, HP’s new tablet, Next Issue Media, and Nook by the end of this year. (There is no mention of RIM’s Playbook or Kindle yet.)
  • To date, Time’s digital magazine and content apps have been downloaded more than 11 million times.
  • “Note that while the release mentions ‘digital subscriptions,’ what that really means is ‘digital-only subscriptions available everywhere but iTunes,’ reports the Wall Street Journal. “Apple and Time Inc. still haven’t come to terms on subscription rules, so right now the only way to get a digital subscription for the iPad is to buy a subscription package that also includes print.”

$139 Nook Introduced; E-Reader Announcements from Amazon and Kobo

This has been a significant week for new product announcements as the e-reader war rages on. New devices, features, price points, sales reports (and a potential acquisition) have been announced from Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Canadian-based Kobo announced its new $130 Kobo eReader Touch Edition will ship in June. CNET expressed concern regarding the general speed of the Wi-Fi device and the new Freescale i.MX508 that powers the e-reader, but added: “That said, the Kobo Touch Edition has a compact, elegant design, with only a couple of buttons (since this is a touch-screen e-reader, there’s a built-in virtual keyboard). I didn’t see a Web browser and like other Kobo e-readers, the device seems very reading-centric. It’s also geared to the international market, with Kobo making a push into several countries, most notably Germany, which has the fastest growing e-book market outside the U.S.”

The next day, Barnes & Noble announced it will also have a new e-reader available in June. The new $139 Wi-Fi Nook claims to have the longest battery life of available e-readers (up to two months) and a growing bookstore (with over two million current titles). The Nook has reportedly been a major contributing factor in Liberty Media’s interest in a potential acquisition. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Liberty executives in recent days have said Barnes & Noble’s digital strategy played a key role in their decision to make a $17-a-share bid for control of the company.”

Not to be outdone, a few hours following the B&N announcement Amazon unveiled its all-new Kindle 3G with Special Offers (currently available) — an ad-supported 3G and Wi-Fi device weighing only 8.7 ounces and featuring improved screen contrast with the latest E Ink Pearl technology. At $164, it costs $50 more than the non-3G ad-supported version (reported last month by ETCentric), but $25 less than the ad-free equivalent.

Can the other e-readers compete with the number of current Kindle options? That question remains to be answered — as does the speculation that e-readers may eventually be replaced by more affordable tablet PCs. One thing is undeniable, however: the Kindle continues to gain in popularity.

In an Amazon press release issued last week, announced it is now selling more Kindle books than print books and the $114 Kindle with Special Offers is already the best-selling member of the Kindle family of products. According to the release: “Since April 1, for every 100 print books has sold, it has sold 105 Kindle books. This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.”

Related Wired post: “Amazon Brings Ads to Kindle 3G” (5/25/11)

Related Wall Street Journal article (with video): “Amazon Introduces Cheaper, 3G-Enabled E-Reader with Ads” (5/25/11)

Related CNET article (with video): “Kobo unveils Wi-Fi Touch Edition e-reader for $129.99” (5/23/11)

Related Kobo Blog post (with video): “The Rumors are True! Kobo Launches the Kobo eReader Touch Edition Today” (5/23/11)

Related Wall Street Journal article: “Liberty Says Nook Inspired B&N Bid” (5/24/11)