You may have heard Barnes & Noble’s Nook will be coming to the UK this October through partnerships with John Lewis, Argos, Foyles, and Blackwell’s. Exciting times for those of us on this side of the Pond, where the Kindle is King. A little competition – and a few more distribution channels – can never be a bad thing. But can the Nook really compete?
You’d be forgiven for shaking your head and asking: ‘Who the hell is John Lewis? And what the heck is Argos?’ Well, John Lewis is a department store along the lines of JC Penney, but with nowhere near as many stores – in fact, the company only has 36 across the UK.
Argos, on the other hand, is the UK’s largest general-goods retailer. It’s one of those funky stores where you rock up, look through the catalogue, write down your number, and the person behind the counter disappears into goodness knows where to secure your item. Perhaps not the first place one would go to seek an e-reading device.
Foyles is an iconic independent bookshop in London, once in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest bookshop. With only a handful of shops scattered across London (and one in Bristol), it seems an odd choice for B&N to select as a partner. Blackwell’s is also a smaller chain of bookshops, specialising in academic texts.
Hmmmm . . . just what is B&N up to? Are they too late to the ball to find top-tier dance partners?
Kobo has already partnered with WH Smith, while Amazon has secured a deal with Waterstone’s, the UK’s biggest high street book chain. So how will the Nook and its partners fare against Amazon’s dominance?
Only time will tell.
Do you have a Nook, Kindle, or Kobo? Why did you choose the device you own? Which had the greater influence: the partnering bookshop or department store, or by the design of the device itself?