Barnes & Noble has updated its NOOK for iOS app today with over 8,000 comics and graphic novels, available through the NOOK store, as well as a new ‘Zoom View’ feature to help readers hone in on specific the panels and follow creative page layouts.
Users can download a copy of the DC Comics 2013 Superman Sampler, which include excerpts from Superman: Last Son of Krypton, Superman: For Tomorrow, Superman: Earth One, and Justice League Volume 1: Origin, for free as part of the app update.
All of the top comic and graphic novel publishers will be available through the new iOS app, including superhero giants DC Entertainment and Marvel, as well as IDW and Dark Horse.
Barnes & Noble says it will be updating the store on a monthly basis with new titles, which can also be downloaded through its NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ tablets, as well as on Android and Windows 8 through the respective apps.
The iPad is a popular device for buying and reading digital copies of popular comics and graphic novels. The difference in size means that app developers have had to be creative with how they display individual panels on a tablet; readers want to be able to zoom-in on some of the detail, but also see the entire page with a single glance when needed. For artists that pull artwork across a double-page spread, this is particularly important.
The new Nook for iOS app also includes animated page turns, which should add to the experience and immersion associated with reading a good book. The ‘Zoom View’ feature has also been adapted for other book types that feature illustrations, such as textbooks and children’s novels, so that readers can enlarge specific drawing at anytime.
Barnes & Noble has also given its Nook Newsstand section, which organizes periodicals in customers’ libraries, a bit of a spring clean so that particular titles are easier to find.
The NOOK Store is yet to really take off on mobile platforms outside of its own dedicated tablets. Part of the problem is that Apple’s iBooks and Newsstand apps are already pretty robust on iOS, and come pre-installed with every iPhone and iPad.
Likewise, Google has made great strides to improve the storefront experience in the Play Store, giving users fewer reasons to check out third-party alternatives such as the Amazon Appstore or NOOK for Android app.
Comics is a small, but welcome addition to the NOOK Store on iOS. It’s unlikely to be enough to sway users from dedicated comic apps such as Comixology, but at this point every little helps.
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Read the original here: Barnes & Noble adds Zoom View tool and over 8,000 graphic novels to its NOOK for iOS app
Microsoft is offering to pay $1 billion to buy the digital assets of Nook Media LLC, the digital book and college book joint venture with Barnes & Noble and other investors, according to internal documents we’ve obtained. In this plan, Microsoft would redeem preferred units in Nook Media, which also includes a college book division, leaving it with the digital operation — e-books, as well as Nook e-readers and tablets.
The documents also reveal that Nook Media plans to discontinue its Android-based tablet business by the end of its 2014 fiscal year as it transitions to a model where Nook content is distributed through apps on “third-party partner” devices. Speculation about the plan to discontinue the Nook surfaced in February. The documents we have are not clear on whether the third-party tablets would be Microsoft’s own Windows 8 devices, tablets made by others (including competing platforms) or both. Third-party tablets, according to the document, are due to get introduced in 2014.
Nook e-readers, meanwhile, do not appear to fall into the discontinuation pile immediately. Rather, they’re projected to have their own gradual, natural decline — following the general trend of consumers moving to tablets as all-purpose devices.
Microsoft and B&N representatives declined to comment for this story.
A deal to buy the digital assets of Nook Media is the natural next step for Microsoft, which first announced a plan to work with Barnes & Noble on its Nook devices and content in April 2012, ponying up $300 million at the time to help. That plan included an additional $180 million advance to develop content for its Windows 8 devices — which Nook has been doing.
To date, there have been 10 million Nook devices sold, including both tablets and e-readers, with more than 7 million active subscribers. Microsoft has seen limited interested in its Windows 8 devices (although it says it has sold more than 100 million licenses for the OS to date). Currently the Nook app is available on every major platform, including Android, iOS and Windows.
Nook Media split from the retail arm last October with a $300 million investment by Microsoft for a 16.8 percent stake in the company. The partnership was aimed at getting B&N content on then-nascent Windows 8 tablets. At the time, President of Digital Product at Nook Media, Jamie Iannone, said “It’s hardware, software, content: everything Nook is part of Nook Media. There will always be a long-term relationship between Barnes & Noble and the Nook business.”
Nook’s decline seems to have helped alter company strategy. Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio proposed buying back the whole of the company’s retail operation.
The documents TC has seen values B&N at $1.66 billion. When Nook Media was first formed, the valuation of that division alone was $1.7 billion. When Pearson invested $85 million at a 5 percent stake in January, it was valued at $1.8 billion. If the deal goes through, Microsoft’s $1 billion purchase will be well below the price it had originally bought in at.
Projections in the document, which are based on company filings and management discussions, show the Nook unit bringing in total revenue of $1.215 billion for fiscal year 2012 (which for Barnes & Noble ended April 30th), for a loss of $262 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). It expects revenue to fall to $1.091 billion in fiscal year 2013, for a loss of $360 million as tablets are phased out — and estimates revenues to gradually recover, up to $1.976 billion by fiscal year 2017, for EBITDA profit of $362 million.
In the meantime, the Nook division has taken a beating this year following a slow holiday season. The new models have sold at a discount for weeks at a time and their flagship 10-inch Nook HD+ fell from $269 to $179. Kindle is offering the Fire HD for the same price. The hardware, while in many ways superior to Amazon’s, seems to have fallen behind in the race to market share and revenue. If Microsoft steps in, the dedicated e-reader race between the stalwart B&N and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon could be over.
John Biggs contributed to this article.
The Nook HD and HD+ got a great update late last night (via Engadget), as Barnes & Noble finally moved away from its closed and system-specific app and media ecosystem. The two Android tablets now offer Google Play, and new devices will ship with the app pre-loaded, while existing owners can get it via a software update over-the-air or via direct download.
Other changes with this update include the introduction of some stock Android apps, including Gmail, Maps and Chrome (which replaces the Nook’s existing web browser as the default option). Essentially, Barnes & Noble is turning the Nook HD line into a very cheap Android tablet play, and not in the limited way it was doing so before.
Where once the Nook brand was a reader first, with Android-powered full-color readers with some tablet functionality, now it looks like we’ll see Barnes & Noble embrace the tablet identity much more fully. Another sign that the book seller is banking on tablets as a much broader attempt at reaching customers is the fact that the Nook Tablet and Color don’t get the Play update, meaning we could see those left behind in terms of future hardware updates.
John took a look at the updated Nook HD+, and found it impressive, especially at $269, or a full $60 cheaper than the cheapest iPad (16GB Wi-Fi iPad mini). The problem, though, was summed up in John’s conclusion: the Nook HD+ is a great upgrade as a reader, but not necessarily a real tablet competitor. Opening up the broader Android software market place and its selection of tablet apps definitely helps to change that.
The Nook line could be the key to Barnes & Noble’s future, but right now it’s also a weight hanging around its neck, as slow sales of the Simple Touch e-reader prompted a fire sale to help move more HD+ inventory, and the Nook division lost cash in the most recent fiscal quarter. There’s still an opportunity for a cheap Android tablet to capture the hearts and minds of consumers, however, and Nook is now in a better position to capitalize on that now that its ecosystem wall has come down.
Barnes & Noble announced today that Pinterest has launched a dedicated app for many of its Nook tablets, and will come preloaded alongside an overhauled Facebook app for new devices starting today.
The Pinterest app is available from the Nook store immediately and should give tablet owners all of the functionality they expect from the pinboard-influenced photo-sharing website.
Details of the app are scarce, but it’s likely to resemble the version available for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets, given that both platforms have been built on the Android mobile operating system.
The revitalized Facebook app is arguably a more influential addition to the Nook platform. Barnes & Noble says users will able to see what their friends are up to, share updates and post photos and videos on the move.
Chat and group conversations are also prevalent, mimicking the dedicated Messenger app available on iOS and Android, in addition to games and the various other features central fo the Facebook experience.
Both apps are supported by the Nook HD, Nook HD+, Nook Tablet and Nook Color, and will come preloaded alongside the Twitter app for future devices.
“Pinterest has long been one of our most requested apps and we are thrilled to bring it to NOOK, along with the Twitter and Facebook for NOOK apps,” said Claudia Romanini, Vice President of NOOK Apps, NOOK Media LLC. “Our goal is to bring NOOK users the very best in social media and these apps will bring to life the rich sharing experiences that Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter offer.”
Barnes & Noble has struggled to create a momentum and brand awareness with its Nook products that can compete with other media-centric tablets, such as Amazon Kindle Fire HD, in addition to more powerful slates such as the iPad/iPad mini and Nexus 7/10.
The company has made a few notable changes to try to reverse that state of affairs, however, with the launch of a new self-publishing service for authors called Nook Press.
Barnes & Noble also launched a new deal, whereby users will receive a free Nook Simple Touch e-reader with every Nook HD+ order. It’s a tantalizing offer, and shows the extent to which the company is prepared to undercut Amazon.
App support will always be an issue for struggling platforms such as the Nook range, but the addition of Pinterest and continued support from Facebook shows it still has a fighting chance.
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Today Barnes & Noble announced a new Windows 8 application that will allow consumers to log in using their Microsoft Account credentials. Microsoft owns a portion of Nook, after investing $300 million into it as a separate venture from its parent company. Microsoft’s stake in Nook amounts to 17.6% of the company.
Today’s news matters as it at demonstrates that Microsoft’s Nook ambitions extend past hardware, and that the company is leveraging its Microsoft Account system across companies and products that it does not own. That Microsoft would allow its new central identity and payment hub into an application built by a third-party – if an unusually close one – is eyebrow raising.
Nook first landed on Windows 8 in November of last year.
Reading the official release, the two firms are calling the integration of Microsoft Accounts into Nook as a marriage of convenience, stating that the move will “dramatically [simplify] the reading and shopping experience.” They called the move the elimination of the need of “separate credentials” to log in or create an account. In short, you can just hop into Nook provided that you use Windows 8 in any real capacity.
The Nook-Microsoft Account is “first digital bookstore to support Microsoft account for sign in on Windows 8.”
If this will drive meaningful changes in the consumer uptake of Nook on Windows 8 or not, it does demonstrate that the Barnes & Noble-Microsoft partnership continues on, on more than paper. Chief rivals, Google, Amazon, and Apple all sport their own bookstores. Only Microsoft is currently approaching the market by way of a partnership.
Top Image Credit: *Sage* TokyoChicago