Is Nook Cannibalizing Store Sales?

Posted on January 27, 2010  |  

Posted in Business


As a newly–minted owner of a Barnes & Noble’s Nook, I experienced a weird feeling as I walked into a local brick and mortar B&N store the other day. I saw a particular book I wanted to buy, but just couldn’t get myself to take it to the checkout.

See, in my mind, having paid $280 for a single-purpose device (which I’m fairly unhappy with), I couldn’t justify an in-store purchase. It’s like buying a hybrid. Even if you’re not a tree hugger, you gotta live in that car to break even with the high markup for the new technology. This is why I don’t find hybrids appealing yet. Same with the Nook.

Turns out that relatively new book (Moral Minority, if you’re curious) wasn’t available in digital format. That’s a sale lost on two accounts.

I would imagine all this is different with Amazon. They don’t have “brick & mortar” stores, so I never had buyer’s remorse. You buy online from them, digital or not. Besides, they have lots more books digitized.

I’m curious to see how Nook affects B&N’s in-store sales. But one thing is clear to me: B&N should work harder to justify Nook’s price tag.

Note: I’ve expressed my frustration with Nook on Twitter and do plan to write an in-depth review of its UX. One of these days…


on March 8, 2010

I do not think that B&N is so much thinking of the Nook as cannibalizing its stores, so much as it is thinking of keeping up with the competition. I guess they would rather transform their business from bricks and mortar as opposed to having no business at all. Cannibalizing is a form of transformation in business sometimes. Much like people thinking that Apple cannibalized many of its iPods with each new iPod.

Joe Tavel
on June 22, 2010

I have to agree with you on the Nook's price (along with other eBook readers). I read a fair amount of books, but at the price of digital books plus the price of the reader, I wouldn't come out ahead (and I actually buy a lot of used books, unless its a book I'm going to read or refer to again). They would need to drop the price of the reader to a low cost (under $50 perhaps?) or the price of the books (which wouldn't be good for the authors) for me to consider buying one.

The space saving benefits would probably tempt me more than the prices though.