updated 11:45 am EST, Tue November 30, 2010
Barnes and Noble Q3 saved by Nook, expansion plans
Barnes & Noble plans to claim a large part of the e-book market in the near future, it said when discussing its latest results. The company has 20 percent today but plans to go "well beyond" that based on a booming business. Its "comparable sales" jumped 59 percent for its August quarter versus a year ago based on sales both of Nook readers and of e-books.
The company noted that most of its expected growth in the November quarter would come from Nook hardware and book sales; its sales for the full year were going to be either flat or up three percent as the Nook hadn't taken off until later on. Its retail bookstores dropped by 3.3 percent over the same period as Apple-style Nook displays and a greater emphasis on games and toys wasn't enough to offset the decline of paper reading.
Despite the success of the Nook, the company wouldn't say how many Nook readers or books it had sold since launching just over a year ago. The company did however suggest that the Nook Color's early strong demand was ongoing, as it had become the bestselling product at Barnes & Noble since shipping two weeks ago, even eclipsing books.
The lack of data is likely a competitive move to avoid giving away the chain's influence on the e-reader market, though it also masks how well the company is doing compared to others. Amazon is still believed to have the lead in both e-reader hardware and software through the Kindle, but Apple is likely to have outsold either of its rivals in terms of sheer iPad numbers. The influence of tablets is more difficult to measure as only some of their users will do any reading.