Critics and industry speculators have been saying the same thing for far too long: Barnes and Noble is in trouble. And with the announcement that its third executive in the Nook division has left the company–most recently Jim Hilt, head of global ebook sales, and before him digital products director Jamie Iannone and VP of digital products Bill Saperstein–coupled with the disappointing holiday season sales and announcements of store closings, it’s easy to see why the rumors gain steam.
Following assurances to Good e-Reader from VP Theresa Horner only last October that B&N is fully committed to the Nook division, the company unveiled a brand-new dedicated e-reader. And certainly doing a year-on-year comparison of the 2013 holiday shopping season is a little unfair when taken into account that 2012 saw two brand-new Nook tablets roll out just in time for Christmas. But without plans at this time to replace these lost digital leadership positions at B&N, is the Nook division without direction?
Statements from within the company have promised once again the Barnes and Noble is committed to the Nook division and will be aggressively driving growth. The international rollout is taking longer than anticipated, with Nook still focused in the US, UK, and now Australia (some additional global markets can access the Nook ebook store through specific tablet apps, however), but at a time when there’s a high rate of turnover within the digital division, maintaining a slow but steady pace of international growth may be the smarter move to take.