Barnes & Noble may be getting out of the e-reader business:
Riggio, the chain’s founder, largest stockholder, and chairman of the company’s board, is looking to buy both the Barnes & Noble Booksellers brick-and-mortar business and Barnesandnoble.com, according to an SEC filing.
The company’s e-book, e-reader, and tablet division, Nook Media, would apparently be spun off or possibly even shut down if the deal comes to pass. The Barnes & Noble board’s strategic committee must still review the plan and the company said in a statement that there is no timetable for that happening yet.
I still don’t own an e-reader, but of all the devices on the market I thought the Nook Glowlight was a big step in the right direction. The lesson here is not simply that you should be careful which product you buy among competing manufacturers in any market segment, but that there are long-term risks inherent in adopting a proprietary device-and-service solution for your e-reading habits:
There has been no word yet what might become of the Nook division, or what this move could mean for Nook device and app users who have downloaded books, magazines, and apps. Microsoft currently owns 17.6 percent of Barnes & Noble’s Nook subsidiary. The software giant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It may well be that the iPad and Kindle will dominate their respective markets, but that doesn’t mean they’re without similar risk. If you’re sinking money into digital copies of anything, make sure you have the right to take those copies with you to a new device if the device you’re currently using goes under. Because sooner or later, all devices go under.
— Mark Barrett
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