I’m Starting to Understand Why Barnes and Noble Is Hemorrhaging Money

So my wife and I and have been going back and forth on whether she should get me a tablet for Christmas.  She got a Samsung a few months ago, and lately I’ve been playing Mah Jong on it.  The reason for this is simple.  I’m either too tired or there’s too much noise/distraction/interruption to try to read.  (The concentration with simple games and reading is different; that’s all I can say.)  I don’t want a tablet because I don’t want to read on a backlit screen.  I do enough of that either at work or on my phone if I’m reading to kill a few minutes while I’m waiting in line or something.  The game playing thing is usually a sign I need to get more rest and/or have less stress in my life.

GlowLight_imgI have a first generation Nook.  What decided me on that rather than a Kindle is that B&N is only a few minutes from my house, so if there’s a problem (which has happened), I can get help from a person fairly quickly.

For quite a while I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a Nook Glowlight.  They’re light.  The screen refreshes faster.  They have a  touchscreen.  I can read in a dark room.  And most importantly, the battery has a much, much longer life.

I’ve gotten to where I don’t read on my Nook much because it takes too long to scroll through things or change between the nookbook folder and the Documents folder which has all the things I’ve sideloaded.  Yes, they are in separate folders on the original.  But mainly, I don’t use it as much as I used to because the battery life is so short.  I don’t like having to put it back on the charger so often.  Like before I’ve finished reading.  But, hey, waddaya expect?  It’s first generation technology.

I’d put off buying a Glowlight because I simply didn’t want to spend the money.  $119 isn’t a great deal, but there are other things I can buy and money is a little tight with all the unexpected expenses we’ve had this year (rotator cuff surgery, braces, etc.).

B&N has permanently lowered the price in the last few weeks to $99, with members getting a 10% additional discount for a limited time.  I decided that I would buy one as my Christmas present.  I called my wife, who is out of town this weekend, and she said go for it.  So I did.  (This was the source of the at the mall tweet earlier today.)

I’d talked a sales clerk last night who was there again today.  When I said I wanted to move the memory chip I’d added to the old Nook to the new one, he said the new one didn’t support a memory chip.  But not to worry, there was much more memory in the Glowlight.  (For the record, I’ve not needed the memory chip yet, so it has nothing on it.)  Sounds good to me.

I had to download all my nookbooks individually (57 menu pages in the Glowlight), which was a pain.  But I could quickly copy the sideloaded books in a matter of minutes from old to new through my PC.  And they would all go in the library, the way they should.  None of this nonsense of separate folders or directories for third party books.

Everything went great.  Until I filled the memory on the device.  I only copied about 2/3 of the third party books.  (These include several years worth of electronic magazines such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Lightspeed, Nightmare, etc.  More memory my ***.  All of these books, every single one of them, fit on the memory of the original, first generation device.

So I’m going back to B&N, although it will probably be next week.  (I have to go out of town to pick up the family tomorrow.)  And if they tell me there’s no way to add more memory, I’ll be returning this Glowlight.

And when I upgrade, it will probably be to a Kindle.  If you’re wondering what I’ll do about the nookbooks, I’ve bought, well, software to convert the formats does exist.  But that would be illegal.  But stupid laws were meant to be broken.

I’m beginning to understand why B&N has so spectacularly failed in competing with Amazon’s KIndle and why they can’t find anyone to buy the Nook division.  (Microsoft pulled out earlier this week.  Can’t say I blame them.)  And with this type of customer service, I can understand why they’re hemorrhaging money.


6 thoughts on “I’m Starting to Understand Why Barnes and Noble Is Hemorrhaging Money

  1. Woelf Dietrich

    My wife bought me a Kindle about two years ago. I’m quite happy with it and I recognize the practical side to using the thing. It’s not backlit so I can’t read in the dark, but that is fine. I don’t normally read in the dark unless I use my phone when I go to bed. Generally I still prefer print books, but I’ve noticed a trend with me. I would buy print versions of writers I know I enjoy or would enjoy and ebooks of those authors I take a chance on, or when the printed version isn’t readily available.

    I think you are probably better off if you get a Kindle. Take it from an ex-purist who looked down on the Kindle. It seriously is practical and makes sense, plus you have all that space and backup in the cloud.

    If Barnes and Noble and all the other companies would just stop whining and actually attempt to compete with Amazon… The longer they wait the harder it will be to catch up. Personally, I doubt they’ll ever catch up.

    1. Keith West Post author

      While I still enjoy, and do buy, print books, I’m so cramped for space that I go with ebooks more often than not. I got my Nook before there were many options in the ereader market. At the time, it looked like B&N would give the Kindle some serious competition. I would probably go with a Kindle if I were buying my first ereader today and didn’t already have a large library in EPUB format.

      After I wrote this post last night, I did some comparison on the settings. The old Nook (which I still have) has 1.26 G of internal memory with the ability to add a memory chip. I’ve used almost all of the internal memory. The Glowlight, which I returned today for a refund, had 2.05 G for nookbooks, but only about 500 M for sideloaded files. This is hardwired in and can’t be changed. The original Nook didn’t limit how much memory could be used for sideloaded files, but then it would play music files. It was a primitive tablet in many ways.

      Clearly, Barnes and Noble is trying to force readers into buying only Nook content from them by limiting the amount of memory that can be devoted to sideloaded items and by locking down Nook so that ebooks bought from B&N can only be read on a Nook. Yeah, this makes me want to do business with B&N. I’ve bought my last ebook from Barnes and Noble. I doubt I’m alone. I’ll be canceling my subscriptions to Analog, Asimovs, Alfred Hitchcocks, and Ellery Queen as soon as I decide which ereader I’m going to replace the Nook with and switching them over to that platform.

      I’m just not sure which platform that will be. Most ereaders use EPUB format. But the Kindle has so much of the market that more ebooks are published in MOBI format. Looks like I’ve got some market research to do.

      1. Woelf Dietrich

        I hear you. One of the things I like about the Kindle is that I can email a PDF document to myself to read on the Kindle which I do quite a bit, even essays that I’ve written or short stories I want to test without having to compile them into Mobi, and I have them available on all my devices, including the actual Kindle. That helps a lot. Unfortunately, you can’t read EPUB on Kindle yet, but there are various work-around options available. If you don’t mind me pasting links here, I’ve found some options for you to consider while you make up your mind.




        Disclaimer: I haven’t tested these. Just found them while I did a quick Google search. I’m sure there are other options too, like Calibre. Calibre I do have and it’s wonderful for converting EPUB to Mobi. It’s also free.

        Please let me know how it goes and what you decide. It is always good to stay updated on what is available.

        1. Keith West Post author

          Of course I don’t mind. I appreciate your posting the links. I’m going to be looking at a number of options later in the week, after I’m done grading finals and get all the students out of my office who didn’t read their lab syllabus and want to submit excuses for absences that occurred in September. I’m glad you like Calibre. I’ve been intending to check it out.

          And rest assured, I’ll post an update or two soon.

        2. Keith West Post author

          Oh, and one other thing. I’ve got both Kindle and Nook apps on my phone. (I’ve also got something called Bacon Ereader that came with the phone, but since I don’t expect to keep the phone more than a few years, I’ve never bothered with it.) Of the two, the Kindle app is the most user friendly.

  2. Pingback: I’ll Continue Using My First Generation Nook (Even Though I Don’t Want to) | Adventures Fantastic

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