An Open Letter to Barnes and Noble

UPDATE: It came to my attention over the weekend that the newer Nook HDs do come with some Google Play app. So that at least was a good start. However after doing some looking, it seems like that app isn’t working as well, now that time has passed and Google Play has updated. It would appear that those with the HD are limited in their ability to use Google Play. I could be wrong, if I am please let me know.

I’ve been following the news lately about Barnes and Noble. Mainly because I have a Nook Tablet, which I have enjoyed having. It was a Christmas present two years ago, I picked it over the Kindle Fire of the time. Main reason, it wasn’t Amazon, second reason at the time it was getting better reviews. I have had it and purchased several books, have used it on trips to watch movies and listen to music. Overall it’s been a great tablet.

With the financial issues that Barnes and Noble are facing now, it’s starting to look like they may let the Nook pass on. To be honest, it already looks like they have to some extent. The tablet I’ve got hasn’t had any type of update in quite some time. Apps for it are for the most part crap and the few that are decent aren’t seeing the updates that I once saw. For instance, the Nook had a great Twitter app, after an update back in February or March the app is non usable. Nobody at Nook or Twitter seems to care as they haven’t fixed the issue yet.

There’s no doubt Barnes and Noble sees the Nook as a failure. I find it hard to argue with them at this point. One of the main problems the Nook has had is a lack of content other than books. They tied themselves in with Netflix, Hulu and Pandora and I think that hurt them. Streaming is fine and dandy when you always have an internet connection, it sucks when you don’t. If you wanted offline entertainment, you had to load it yourself to the Nook’s limited internal storage or a SD card that you had to get seperately. There was no method to purchase music or video from Barnes and Noble. That my friends, is what I think killed the Nook Tablets.

I’ve got two more things to say. First is this, Barnes and Noble if you are getting ready to let the Nooks die and ceasing e-books, you need to open the DRM on the ebooks your customers purchased. You will kill any goodwill Nook users have for you if you don’t do this. To put it simply, if all the real stores closed, you wouldn’t be coming to the houses of your customers to take their physical books back, you shouldn’t do it to the e-books. If those of us who purchased e-books are going to have to look for a new e-reader we want to take our purchases with us.

Now, for the second thing I want to offer a suggested way out. Someway to make the Nook good again. What is it you ask, get into bed with Google. I’d be willing to bet they could make a version of Android to upgrade your tablets as an opening measure.

Two years ago Google didn’t have the media power that it has now. Now they have music, movies, books and magazines and they’ve always had the apps. I’d say Google would love to have the library that Barnes and Noble has to offer. Barnes and Noble would then be able to offer more media choices to their tablet owners that they never will be able to on their own. It would increase their customer base (Google books by Barnes and Noble) as Android devices all have access to Google books. Could very well be a win/win for both of them.

I figure both of those are a pipe dream. So I’ve begun a search for a new tablet. I’m currently looking at Nexus tablets, but I’m just in the research stage. I am leaning toward more an Android tablet than any Amazon tablets though. When the day comes I get a new one, that is unless Barnes and Noble does something before then, I’ll be done with them. Not really because I want to be, but it seems because they want me to be.


Originally published July 11, 2013