Thursday, July 11, 2013

If Nook Goes Bust, Will Your E-Books Survive?

Writes MarketWatch:  After the flagging fortunes of the Nook tablet prompted Barnes & Noble’s CEO to resign, loyal customers may be wondering what will happen to their electronic libraries if the company goes kaput. Will they be stuck with vast book collections that can only be viewed on devices that are no longer produced or supported?

MarketWatch continues:

. Last month, Barnes & Noble said it would stop production of the Nook color tablet, although it would continue to design and make the cheaper and simpler black-and-white Nook e-readers. The Nook, some experts say, is on its way out. “It’s going to be a battle between Apple’s AAPL +0.93%    iPad and Amazon’s  Kindle,” says technology analyst Jeff Kagan. “The Nook may become the Betamax of e-books.”

This leaves Nook customers with a big problem — similar to what some consumers faced when the Betamax video format lost to VHS in the early 1980s. If Barnes & Noble stops production on all Nooks, experts says, Nook owners would have a hard time moving their libraries. In fact, customers are already grappling with that very issue on online forums. The reason: Most e-books carry digital rights management software, or DRM, which prevents them from being pirated, passed on to third parties or, in this case, transferred onto another device by the same consumer. “If customers purchase DRM books, which are commonly supplied by large publishers, portability is more of a challenge,” says Mark Coker, founder of e-book distributor

Currently, downloading e-books onto one device and even trying to read or access them on another can be a time-consuming and complicated endeavor. For instance, Nook customers can access their Nook library on an iPad through the “Nook for iPad” app, but there is no Nook app for Kindle, according to a spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble. (The company spokeswoman declined to comment on the transfer of libraries between devices and on the future of Nook’s remaining e-readers.) Amazon has apps like “Kindle for PC” that enable users to read Kindle books on other devices, but again there is no easy way to transfer the library to an iPad. Books bought in Apple’s iTunes Store can only be read on either the iPad or iPhone. And if the Nook were discontinued, the apps and software might no longer be updated or supported.[...]

To protect its e-book sales, Barnes & Noble should form partnerships with third party devices, Coker says. “Consider, for example, the opportunity for Barnes & Noble to power the bookstores of tablet makers other than Apple and Amazon,” he says. Others say it could be too late, however. “Unfortunately for people who have been loyal to the Barnes & Noble brand, the company has struggled since its early dot-com days to transform into a digital company,” says e-commerce consultant Bryan Eisenberg.

There may be more bad news for Nook owners, studies suggest. Helped by the launch of the cheaper and lighter iPad Mini last year, the iPad will continue to dominate the tablet and e-reader market, according to just-released research by Paris-based market research firm and think tank Ipsos. Some 17% of the U.S. population ages 13 to 74 with access to the Internet own an iPad, while 7% own a Kindle Fire and only 1% own a Nook.


  1. just google NOOK EPUB DRM Removal. it's not that big of a deal to move your library to another device. EPUB is a universal standard.

    1. beat me to it