Barnes & Noble (B&N) is keeping up with Amazon and other
tablet makers by launching two new HD versions of its Nook
tablet, opening an OTT video store with shows from major
Hollywood studios and adding UltraViolet compatibility. It’s
also substantially expanding its European distribution by
signing deals there with major retail chains.
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, it will offer a
7-inch HD tablet at $199 and a 9-inch tablet for $269. Units
with more storage will also be available for higher price.
Hanging like a specter over all tablet makers are persistent
rumors that Apple will soon launch a 7-inch tablet at a low
price. B&N is counting on its new tablets, expanded European
distribution and low prices to fight off the Apple onslaught.
Barnes & Noble has deals with HBO, Starz, Sony Pictures,
Disney, Viacom and Warner Brothers Entertainment and says more
deals are coming. NOOK Video is cloud based so users can
synchronize videos across multiple devices and resume viewing
on another device at the same place they left off.
Videos can be both streamed or downloaded from the Nook Store
and are stored in the Nook Cloud, so the content can be
enjoyed on other devices via soon-to-be launched free Nook
The UltraViolet connection comes when the customer buys an
UltraViolet-compatible physical DVD or Blu-ray. Users can link
their UltraViolet accounts to the Nook Cloud so they can watch
the same movies on devices that do not have DVD or Blu-ray
Faultline reports that B&N had already announced several UK
distribution deals in August, including retail deals with
catalog retailer Argos and bookshops Blackwell’s and Foyles,
to begin in early October, and with the much larger department
store chain, John Lewis.
It has named Patrick Rouvillois as its VP international to
oversee the company’s international expansion. Rouvillois is a
French heavyweight who worked at French retailer Carrefour,
the number two global retailer with 15,000 stores in 30
countries. Previously, he was EVP of consumer marketing for
Orange, part of France Telecom and also worked at Vivendi, so
you can imagine his contact book throughout Europe.
B&N has added electronics retailer Dixons to the UK mix, which
also controls the PC World and Currys brands. It also added
up-market grocery chains Waitrose and Sainsbury to its UK
distribution channels. That makes up an exceptionally
impressive amount of UK floor space, substantially better in
percentage terms than it holds in the US. If it does anything
similar across Europe, then its dream to separate and flourish
from the original US book stores group, will be well under