Barnes & Noble Needs To Go Nuclear

In the rebooted Star Trek movie, there’s a scene where Nero is finally backed into a corner, gets desperate, and screams, “Fire everything!”

And today, Barnes & Noble is Nero: Barnes & Noble sees Nook unit loss increasing in 2013

William Lynch — and who knows if it was his original plan or not — has tried to follow the Amazon model. It hasn’t worked.

Now Barnes & Noble finds itself in the position of Nero. Not only is the Red Matter about to kill them, but out of the blue there’s the USS Enterprise — Apple — also gunning for them.

It’s time to fire everything, Barnes & Noble, if you want to save yourself.

1) Drop the mutant DRM! This was the dumbest move you could have ever made. In your stores, you don’t care if people pay with plastic or with cash. You welcome everyone to buy. Not so with your Nookbooks. You have economically discriminated against a large segment of your customers. It’s past time to stop doing that. Do you know I would buy eBooks from you if you dropped your mutant DRM? Well, I would!

2) Make publishers pay for the DRM. I understand that standard Adobe DRM has an onerous per-download cost. But why should you pay for that? Do you really care after you’ve sold a book? I don’t think so. Only publishers do. So make them pay for the DRM. How are they going to really say no? What other national chain of bookstores can they flog their printed slabs in? Do you think they’ll run to Amazon for help? It’s time for you to take a stand on this. DRM is insisted on by publishers, so make them pay for it.

3) Make your devices full Android. You are sitting there with something that no one else can offer: The eInk Nooks as full Android eInk tablets. You can raise their prices by ten bucks easily and still clean up. Because, again, you have what no one else — not Amazon, not Kobo, not Apple, not anyone — has: eInk Android tablets. There is your winning niche: The second tablet strategy. Yes, the iPad Mini is selling like crazy, but an eInk Nook costs much less and it’s more easily replaced if lost or stolen. People will have less anxiety about pulling out an eInk Nook than they would showing an expensive iPad Mini in public. An iPad Mini says, “Steal me!” There’s an opening for a good marketer to exploit.

4) eInk Android tablets lead to exclusive apps. There are certain things that apps have to change in order to take full advantage of eInk. This is where your Nook App Store finally has a purpose: Selling those eInk-customized apps that have no real place in the general Google Play Store. People will pay for these apps too — because they’re exclusive to you. What’s optimal for eInk is sub-optimal for color Android tablets by others.

That’s it.

I’m not going to rehash how your customer service must be fixed too. Or anything else. People are fond of long lists. I’m all about getting to the damn point.

The above moves are what you must do first to survive.

The longer you wait, the more money you will lose.

Do it. Fire everything!

Previously here:

Nook Media Is Killing Itself In The Womb
eInk isn’t Dead Yet
The Secret Is That Nook Sales Are Dead
Have Nook Touch Sales Collapsed?
Microsoft Reduces Nook To An App For $300M
It’s Time To Dump Adobe eBook DRM
Barnes & Noble: Drop Your Damn Mutant DRM!


Filed under Barnes & Noble Nook

2 responses to “Barnes & Noble Needs To Go Nuclear

  1. B&N could really force this on publishers: Go DRM free or we will not stock your physical books in our stores. The publishers really are not in a position to refuse.

    Sell the DRM-free books to anyone and everyone, regardless of OS (as Smashwords does); don’t require that stupid B&N app.

    And it would allow me to actually spend money on B&N ebooks (I run Linux. B&N’s freaking cloud reader won’t even work for me.)

    • mikecane

      If I wasn’t clear, I didn’t mean DRM-free. I meant drop *their* mutant DRM and use standard Adobe DRM as a first step. That would allow people without credit cards to buy eBooks from them, using Gift Cards bought at B&N or any other store that stocks them (lots of drug chains do).

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