Good e-Reader sat down at the Frankfurt Book Fair today with Theresa Horner, Vice President of Digital Content at Barnes and Noble, to talk about the current state of the Nook division, the associated Nook Press self-publishing platform, and the upcoming affiliate drive to help authors receive an additional benefit for driving their own fans towards ebook purchases that offer a return on the transaction. One of the several interesting topics discussed was Horner’s pronouncement on the current status of the Nook division, something which the online rumor mill has alluded to more than once as a stone around Barnes and Nobles’ neck, along with rumors that the retailer is trying to unload its e-reader and tablet division.
“We [Nook division] are so far from going away that it’s almost laughable,” explained Horner. “Clearly, we’re here. Barnes and Noble is 100% committed to Nook, we have stated publicly that we are going to come out with some new device products, and there’s a whole road map for that. Our teams in Palo Alto and New York are fully committed to developing new products and producing the innovative products that we’ve had to date. We’re still the strong number in the ebook market in terms of market share in the US, and we’re starting to take what we’ve learned and move it overseas. We’re learning how to be a non-US company, how to be international, and that’s why we’re here.”
One of the features that Barnes and Noble was demonstrating at Frankfurt was the beta product that went live last night was a way to let non-US based authors take full advantage of Nook Press. Obstacles like paying authors in their currencies, taxes, and VAT have put up roadblocks the prevented authors who did not reside in the US from taking part in the platform to release their books for Nook. The international move will also allow authors to price their books as they choose for each market. This effort is a buildup to affording US-based authors to publish their titles in those foreign markets as well.
Horner also addressed the affiliate program, specifically in terms of how affiliate status can help authors in maximizing revenue by driving their readers towards the Nook site to purchase their ebooks, mostly by making the process simpler and more streamlined.
“This way we’re leveraging this huge network of authors who are out there and asking them to let the readers choose which retailer they want to go with. If you drive all your sales to one particular retailer, it’s a foregone conclusion that your entire market share will come from that retailer.”
One summary statement from Horner helps explain why Nook has remained where it has, in spite of rumors and predictions about its stores and its devices.
“This ebook business is still so new, for everybody involved. I think the entire market is starting to understand that you’re not going to have triple digit growth year after year, and how to turn this into a mature business.”