How Barnes & Noble might differentiate themselves



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  1. #1
    Thing 1 Klaatu's Avatar
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    Default How Barnes & Noble might differentiate themselves

    I was thinking over the weekend about how B&N might differentiate Nook and their online store from the others that are out there and I came up with an idea. So tell me what y'all think, then we can Cuss & Discuss.

    Sony has their online store, which must be accessed via dedicated software (which, frankly, sucks). Kindle has it's online store from which you can directly buy ebooks and get them directly on the device. You can also download content to your computer and side load it, via USB. However the tag and file management for Kindle and the various Sony ereaders seems to be pretty non-existent unless you use something like Calibre.

    It seems to me that what B&N could do is offer an online, cloud-based file management and tagging app to which you could also upload files, or even have them sent directly, that you purchase from other stores such as fictionwise.com or ereader.com. As long as they are in the proper format, that is. And even certain files such as .txt, or .mobi, could be auto converted so they could then be downloaded and/or synced to Nook.

    I know you can do something similar with Kindle but I don't think there are any file and tag management features available. Rachel you can answer that question for us, I think.

    At any rate, this type of web app could be a neat way for B&N and Nook to stand out from the crowd.

    Regards,
    Michael
    'Not all who wander are lost.'
    ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

    CURRENTLY READING: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: How Barnes & Noble might differentiate themselves

    As far as the Kindle is concerned, the only similar thing they have is you can email a incompatible (non-drm’d) file and they will convert it for you and either send you the file back in an email for free or directly to your Kindle for .15/mb. No file or tag management at all.

    I like your idea, I have a response floating around in my head, but alas work is creeping in there too, I will respond later when I get home, I just wanted to quickly throw in what the Kindle has now. Can’t wait to see other responses too!

    Rachel
    Visit the Barnes & Noble Store

    Now Reading: As Young as We Feel by Melanie Carlson

  4. #3
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    Default Re: How Barnes & Noble might differentiate themselves

    Michael-

    I really like your idea for Barnes and Noble. I think that having an online organization/folder system that would allow for direct syncs to your eReader is awesome. There are going to be many places that you can pickup books that will be compatible with the nook (even just for free on an author’s website), and it would be great to have a place to store these and still be able to sync them to my nook. In today’s world the company that wins out 98% of the time is the one that makes it easy for the consumer. So if I can log into B&N and tell it to grab a file from this url, and then I can tell it to send that file to the nook, it’s got my vote.

    I also believe that the company that decides to figure out that the real money is made on books not readers will win. What if B&N made their books not only compatible with the nook, but also compatible with the Kindle? Maybe they wouldn’t sell as many eReaders, but they may sell a lot of books (if their pricing is comparable at least). I actually have a feeling that Amazon will be jumping on this bandwagon soon enough, making their files compatible with other eReaders. When this happens, rather than buying an eReader because of the selection the company provide on books, we will be selecting an eReader based on its own merits. This will encourage all sorts of innovation in the marketplace.

    I think that this market is so young still that it will take a little bit for people to jump on the bandwagon, but I think it is coming. Every electronic device has gone through this kind of growing pain before it became the norm for everyone to have. I am sure when the TV came out people scoffed, “Why would I want that when I can see a show live and in person?” and TVs were a rarity in households for a long time, but soon enough live, in-person, shows became the anomaly and TV the norm. It’s just the way it is.

    I am glad that there are a few players in the game, it breeds innovation. Right now I think B&N is just following the template that Kindle made, and they do need to do something hugely different to really grab people. However, I am afraid a company like Apple will be the one to really do this in the eReader market.

    Rachel
    Visit the Barnes & Noble Store

    Now Reading: As Young as We Feel by Melanie Carlson

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  6. #4
    Thing 1 Klaatu's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Barnes & Noble might differentiate themselves

    Good points, Rachel. I agree.

    I've been thinking about this idea some more and I think the potential is there for B&N to do something that Amazon and Sony can't with this idea if they tied it into their membership program. For example.

    Anyone who owns a Nook gets the simple online management web app, with no frills. It only works with the B&N store; there's no free file transfer; no file uploads; no free file conversion, etc. Useful, but not outstanding. If, on the other hand, you are a B&N member and pay the $25 yearly fee then you unlock the full feature set of the online management web app, as has been suggested and whatever else those features might be. But also you would get other perks as well. If you buy a Dead Tree book in the store, a brand new hardback, say, then you get the ebook for $1 more delivered instantly to your Nook. Non-members pay an additional $3, for example.

    With B&N membership you also get discounts on ebooks, say %5. As well as free file conversion of ebooks when they are uploaded to the web app.

    This mythical web app could be something like iTunes for ebooks. It would allow tagging of ebooks, which Nook would have to support, it would have "shelves," and folders, etc. You could completely control the content and file structure of your Nook from this web app. If Nook is going to have connectivity anywhere via 3G and Wi-Fi then use it. Take full advantage of the features and give the consumer added value to make them want to use your device over Kindle or a Sony eReader.

    Here's hoping...

    Regards,
    Michael
    'Not all who wander are lost.'
    ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

    CURRENTLY READING: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

  7. #5

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    Default Re: How Barnes & Noble might differentiate themselves

    My phone has a great way of doing it.. admitadly, there is no tagging, BUT the folder/organisation system is amazing. I can move books around between folders and all the kinda thing on the phone. Also, when the phone is plugged into the computer, those directories are represented as windows folders, therefore making it very easy to use!

    Would such a web app be such a good thing is my question? I personally am not "for" the idea of this whole application on the internet idea. It works well in some cases, but some things should remain here, on the local machine. I personally plan on building an sync app for my Nook when I eventually get it. That is, provided its not beyond my scope of skills to connect to it.

    Cheers,
    Ben

  8. #6

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    Default Re: How Barnes & Noble might differentiate themselves

    I think the big differentiate is built into the system...it's Android.

    It will be the first Android eReader. Android is open source and has developer tool kits (SDKs) if the tech/program/hacking community jumps on this we could see some great things beyond just downloading books come out of the Nook.

    Look what Apps did for the iPhone! Apple made it easy for them to add applications. Well Android is even more wide open than that. If B&N can embrace the open source OS community - you could start a nerd cult revolution to the NOOK.

    That was one of my prime reasons for pre-ordering the Nook.

    Lastly - they really need to get on top of their pricing. They own eReader.com and they should match Amazon's prices 1:1 - that would bring traffic.

    Additionally they really need to market that Google Books library 10s of 1,000s of free ebooks.

    A hyper link in the Nook to Google Books would be great as well as the many other pre-1929 published works that are free.


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