Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry ~ Pull the Plug on the Nook, Round II

Business Insider @
Our post earlier today advising Barnes & Noble to finally pull the plug on their Nook e-reader and e-bookstore has generated a bit of interest. We're delighted that there seems to exist a thriving online community of Nook fanboys, ready to pounce on every critical article written on the product. Many of them took to the comments (and Twitter, and our email...) to explain how wrong, wrong, wrong we are. We still respectfully disagree.

First, a couple concessions. Yes, the Nook e-reader has actually been selling pretty well -- anything else would've been surprising given how heavily B&N marketed it in store. And yes, the Nook's e-book store seems to have a good selection -- although this has more to do with publishers scared of Apple and Amazon hedging their bets than anything intrinsic to the Nook. We didn't mean to imply otherwise in our post.
With that in mind, here are, as best as we can tell, the main arguments in favor of the Nook:
  • "I love my Nook!" And we still love our old Amiga, but that didn't make it win the PC platform wars of the 80s.
  • "The Nook is compatible with the epub format, and not the Kindle!" Ok, fair enough. But how much does the average consumer care about that? How many people in the world know what "epub" is? And if it's really that important, how hard would it be for Amazon to add it? 
  • "You're just an Apple/Amazon fanboy!" Well, Apple and Amazon just happen to be extremely disciplined, phenomenally successful giant companies with very deep pockets led by visionary Founder/CEOs who think in decades, not quarters. Barnes & Noble? Not so much
  • "It's too early to tell who will be successful!" That's actually a really good point. The e-book market is still nascent and fluctuating, and it might be too early to make such bold predictions. But it might not be.
That said, we still think the Nook is doomed.
Because ...