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Barnes & Noble CEO Lynch Out After Nook Woes Deepen (Forbes)
Another dreary chapter for Barnes & Noble came to a close Monday with the resignation of chief executive William Lynch, the man brought on board to build the company’s tablet business. Officially, Barnes & Noble offered no explanation for Lynch’s departure. It’s not difficult to read between the lines, though. Lynch, a one-time Palm executive, was unable to push Barnes & Noble into the tablet business, a market heavily dominated by Apple’s iPad, and to a far lesser extent, Amazon.com’s Kindle. NYT The moves on Monday appeared to be a step toward separating the digital and retail divisions, as the company has indicated it might do. Barnes & Noble has been in talks over a potential sale of its digital assets, as well as its 675 bookstores. Microsoft is one potential buyer of the Nook business; last year it invested hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire 17.6 percent of the division. TechCrunch E-readers never managed to beat back competition from the ever-strong Amazon, and the move into Nook tablets, based on Android, never quite hit the mark, either — a position that only seemed to get worse over time. Barnes & Noble’s last quarter saw the company report a loss of nearly $119 million, more than double the loss in the quarter a year before. The Nook division specifically, the thing on which B&N has pinned its future, made only $108 million in revenue in that period, a 34 percent drop from a year ago. GalleyCat “I appreciate the opportunity to serve as CEO of this terrific company over the last three years,” said Lynch in a statement. “There is a great executive team and board in place at Barnes & Noble, and I look forward to the many innovations the company will be bringing to its millions of physical and digital media customers in the future.” Read more
Posts Tagged ‘e-readers’
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Today’s news may be dominated by that other e-reader/netbook hybrid, but another e-reader that we’re looking forward to, the Skiff Reader, has managed to snag at least one headline.
“As a wireless digital reading device, the Skiff Reader stands out from products such as Amazon’s Kindle, which is optimized for book reading, in its ability to render magazine and newspaper layouts with a look similar to the print brands. It uses multiple columns, photos, familiar-looking type fonts and pagination and has a large display and a touch-screen user interface. The Skiff Reader is due to be available by the end of the year though Sprint’s physical and online stores and Skiff’s online storefront for an as-yet-undisclosed retail price.”
The Skiff Reader may be optimized for periodical reading, and working closely with Hearst — which helped incubate the tech company — will get it access to the magazine publisher’s stable of titles, but how will it fare against other e-readers and the new behemoth, the iPad? Will magazine readers be so enamored with the newest Apple product that by the time the Skiff Reader launches it will go unnoticed? The performance, battery life and price of both products — and iPad’s connection to AT&T while Skiff sticks with Sprint — may play a crucial part in both products’ future.
Another key selling point: Skiff’s reader will be bendy.
Previously: Hearst Enters E-Reader Market With Skiff
Benton said he understood why those in the media held the Kindle, Amazon’s e-reader product, out as the possible savior of the industry — since Kindle users were willing to pay for newspaper subscriptions while online readers were not. But this theory fails because Kindle users represent such a small part of total number people who read the news. “It’s a way to get marginal income from a small percentage of people who are willing to pay for news,” he said.
Also, the Kindle itself is not a good tool for reading newspapers, and certainly not magazines. There are additional features e-readers would need in order to make good news reading devices, like a fast connection, alerts and multimedia capabilities. “E-readers will become a mainstream category when they become excellent web devices,” Benton said. However, when that happens, “the news business model for e-readers collapses.”
Guess as far as Benton is concerned, e-readers won’t be the savior of the print news industry that everyone is hoping they will be. Instead, newspapers and magazines will become smaller, more expensive and “more elite products,” and most people will still get their news for free from the Web.
And as we wrap up our coverage of the eBook Summit, check out some photos from the event yesterday and today.
If the title “eBook Summit” conjures up a vision of publishing industry executives, agents and writers, well, you’re not that far off. But we were also not surprised to see that there is a lot that journalists and news organizations can take away from the panels at today’s mediabistro.com eBook Summit — and not just those journalists who have written books or hope to someday. In fact, we believe e-readers will have a huge impact on the print media world — not just the publishing world — in the New Year.
We sat in on a panel this morning that featured Jennifer Stenger, who oversees licensing and business development for mobile markets for the Associated Press. She spoke about the AP’s expansion into providing its content on mobile devices and e-readers. This is a shift for the AP, she said, because the organization has traditionally just provided news content to other news organizations who then repackage it and distribute it to readers or viewers. Now, the AP can tap these users directly, so it is learning what information people want and how they want to get it. “It gives us something we’ve never had before, which is a direct connection to users,” she said.
Also surprising to the AP, she said, was that readers were willing to pay for content on their e-readers. Where traditionally information on the Internet has been given away for free, making online readers less inclined to pay for it, e-reader users were willing to shill out to get information specially curated for them.
“It was kind of a surprise to us that they wanted to charge [for e-reader content], because news on the Web is free and no one wants to pay for the news anymore,” Stenger said. “And not only did they want to charge, they wanted to charge per category of news. We thought this would never work, no one would ever want to pay. But on the contrary, people are willing to pay for what they want, and most of what they are paying for is convenience.”