I was rooting for Barnes & Noble, I’m a fan, I really am. . I’ve spent a ton of time over the years hanging out in their bookstores. Nuth’n better than crawling around stacks of books looking for treasures to enlighten and entertain. I get the joke that the book business in serious trouble. Amazon has all by destroyed the chains, e-publishing is taking it’s toll and the 20-30 some things can’t read more than 144 characters at at time without getting distracted.
I thought they were on to something when they came out with the Nook, competition for the Kindle. I was enough of a fan that I bought three of the things, the original white nook (that’s the one that that got ripped off, resurfaced and then re-ripped off by some artist in St.Paul who found it, pulled the douchebag trick when I asked to get it back and who I know wait for Kharma to make her life more miserable.) I bought a color Nook when it came out and finally the Nook tablet for Mrs S.
I actually like the Nook, or did I should say. We have 3 iPads in the family as well so I know the difference, but for reading and light applications, the Nook was fine, and given that it was less than 1/2 the price of the cheapest iPad, I thought it was a good deal.
Except over time, I started to outgrow the thing. Which frankly, shouldn’t have happened. The Nook runs on a Barnes & Noble proprietary version of Android. The fine folk at B&N, thinking themselves able to pull of an Apple like closed down ecosystem of applications and content force Nook owners like me, who haven’t tried to root my device, through their store, for apps and books. Just like Amazon BTW. This wouldn’t a big problem if they would open their store up to the world of Android applications, but they don’t. They curate. The hand select the applications that they think their users would like and that’s what we can find in their store.
Actually they do more than curate, they censor. The applications in the Nook store are so benign, Rick Santorum and the Chinese Government would approve of them. Wanna play a game where shoot something or go to war against someone? Not in the Nook-u-verse. Wanna sync the device with outlook or post to a blog? Nope. How about Facebook? Noting there either.
Lame lame lame
But I have one and I use it quite a bit for magazines and books. It certainly has some cool features around viewing articles and reading books, better than what I’ve seen elsewhere. If only… If only it were a real Android tablet.
Looking at B&N’s financial performance it’s a complete disaster, the lone bright spot being their electronic business. Without it, they’d be dead. Which leaves me thinking, wouldn’t you want to try to attract more people to that segment, instead of turning them off with limited access to applications and content?
This week I happened to hit the Google home page. There on the bottom, an ad for the Nexus 7, the new Android tablet from Google. My first thought, so long Barnes & Noble, you had a good run. I can’t imagine anyone buying a Nook anymore. Would make no sense given the restricted environment of the Nook. And when your using your new Nexus 7, B&N becomes just one of many book purchasing options, cutting into Barnes and Nobles market share. Unfortunately they have no share left to give.