Samsung-made Nook tablets are a holiday flop

It appears that there were not many Nooks under Christmas trees this year. Barnes & Noble’s beleaguered line of Nook tablets and e-readers had a terrible fourth quarter. On Thursday, the company announced that Nook revenue was down 55 percent from the year-ago period.

Nook revenue doesn’t just include Nook hardware — it also includes digital content and accessories. Device and accessory sales were down a whopping 68 percent from last year to $56 million in the most recent quarter. Sales of ebooks and digital audiobooks (only) dropped 25 percent to $27.4 million.

Nook

In 2014, [company]Barnes & Noble[/company] changed its Nook hardware strategy. Previously, Nooks were unique Android-based tablets that were specifically designed for Barnes & Noble. But the Nook launched last year was merely a re-branded and slightly skinned version of one of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablets, which allow users to install the Kindle app as well as other apps for purchasing ebooks from the Google Play app store.

Although the company didn’t break out sales for specific Nook products, it appears the new [company]Samsung[/company] Nook was powerfully unpopular this holiday season. However, it’s possible that Android tablets in general had disappointing sales in the past quarter.

It’s also possible that the Samsung Nooks met expectations but other Nook hardware flopped. Barnes & Noble sells a e-ink reader, the Nook Glowlight, which didn’t see an update in 2014 even as Amazon’s line of e-ink Kindles received price cuts and upgrades and a new high-end model.

In December, Barnes & Noble bought out Microsoft’s stake in Nook Media.

Barnes & Noble’s newest Nook tablet is a rebranded Samsung Galaxy Tab 4

Nook

The largest retail bookseller in the United States is now in the business of selling Samsung tablets. As was announced earlier this summer, Barnes & Noble will discontinue its own line of skinned Android tablets and instead will partner with Samsung to sell a Nook-branded version of the Galaxy Tab 4, which will be called, rather uncreatively, the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. This version of the seven-inch tablet will have several Nook book and music marketplaces preinstalled and it will be sold for $180 at Barnes & Noble as well as online. Barnes & Noble locations will also offer customer support for customers struggling with the jump from paper books to a fully-fledged Android tablet.

Today in Connected Consumer

The once crowded field of e-book readers increasingly looks like a two-horse race, with Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad leading the pack and Sony’s Reader and Barnes & Noble’s Nook trailing well off the pace. Earlier this month, would-be contender iRex filed for bankruptcy protection. Now, Plastic Logic has cancelled pre-orders for its Que e-reader, which now may never ship. So why is Amazon adding functionality to its Kindle iPad app that is not available on the Kindle?

Today in Connected Consumer

Considering that it’s still a small business, the e-book market continues to generate an astonishing amount of interest and activity. Fighting for oxygen against Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad, Barnes & Nobel just cut the price of its Nook e-book reader to $199, $50 cheaper than the lowest-priced Kindle, while introducing a new, Wi-Fi-only version for $149. Meanwhile, there are indications that Wal-Mart may soon enter the e-reader market. Renowned inventor Ray Kurzweil lets slip to the New York Times he is in conversations with the mega-retailer about including his new Blio e-book software in an upcoming device. Wal-Mart issues a statement that could be read as confirmation, or at least reluctance to deny.