The Demise of the Barnes & Noble Nook

Barnes & Noble recently laid off several of its Nook staff recently, furthering doubts about the company’s long term sustainability in the ebook space. While a company spokesperson remained optimistic and made it clear that they would not be exiting the device business, it is uncertain how much longer they can compete successfully with in this area.

In some ways, this brings to mind the format wars between Betamax and VHS in the 1980’s. Kindle and Nook are both competing for the same market space: currently the Kindle holds 50 percent of the e-reader market share, while the Nook holds 20 percent. Furthermore, the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s tablet, allows users to purchase all types of media on one device. This puts Amazon at an advantage as the go-to for media such as books, music, movies, and TV shows.

It is even more damning that Apple’s iPad has a 22 percent share of the e-reader market, especially because that isn’t considered the iPad’s primary function.

It seems consumers have chosen the Kindle for the most part. While the Nook might last a few more years before finally bottoming out, Barnes & Noble isn’t the only company getting absolutely crushed by in the retail market. The reduction in staff at Barnes & Noble is just another casualty in the wake of Amazon’s shining success.

While Barnes & Noble executives remain optimistic, it is unlikely that the company will come out of this at an advantage.

Source: The New York Times