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Barnes & Noble Closes The Book On The Nook

New York — Barnes & Noble today began to spin down its Nook hardware business announcing it will partner with other vendors to develop co-branded devices.

BN said it its fiscal year statement that it saw a 34 percent decrease in its digital content segment, which includes devices, content and accessories, for its fiscal fourth quarter and a 16.8 percent drop for the year. However, content sales increased 16.2 percent for the year.

The company hopes to offset the loss attributed to hardware sales by stopping in-house manufacturing.

“The widely popular lines of Simple Touch and Glowlight products will continue to be developed in house, and the company’s tablet line will be co-branded with yet to be announced third-party manufacturers of consumer electronics products,” the company said.

The bookseller will continue to develop e-reading platforms and apps for use other devices.

BN will sell through its remaining stock of Nook HD and Nook HD+ devices through the holiday season.

The Nook was first introduced in October 2009 as a basic e-reader. The e-reader category exploded at first as BN and Amazon with its Kindle battled to dominate the category. The introduction of the iPad and the slew of Android-based tablets that soon followed severely limited sales of basic e-readers and this trend encouraged vendors to begin rolling out full tablets with e-reading capability.

BN did this with the Nook HD series.

In March IDC said about 18.2 million e-readers shipped worldwide in 2012, and while it expects the category to maintain that figure this year, e-readers will begin a permanent decline starting in 2015.