What would become of an independent Nook?
While predicting doom for Nook, as our columnist Michael Weinstein put it, has become the favored pastime of the book and tech press of late, it’s hard not to read the news of B&N Chairman Leonard S. Riggio’s bid to purchase the chain’s retail stores and take them private—leaving the company’s foundering Nook division to fend for itself—as the beginning of the end for the little e-reader that could. (Or maybe it’s the end of the end for the little e-reader that couldn’t quite.)
It’s not without a little sadness that I’m pondering the end of the Nook, and not just because I own one. Nook always seemed to me to be the reader’s e-reader. The one that, from a product design standpoint, was just a little friendlier: easier to hold (with that elegantly beveled back), the first to glow for night reading, and more amenable to side-loading.
Sure, the UX leaves something to be desired, and yes, there’s a ton more content available for the Kindle. Still, I can’t help but recall when when Sega’s Dreamcast gave up the ghost—inventive, more innovative, but ultimately no match for the Playstation and Xbox behemoths.
With reports swirling that B&N plans to scale back on device manufacturing to focus on content, could this be Nook’s denouement? Or might untethering the Nook unit from the travails of the retail side be just what both sides need to best face the future?
What do you think?