Barnes & Noble Getting By With a Little Help From Its Friends
Barnes & Noble shares were gaining 1.43% to $22.06 in midday trading in New York.
South Korea-based Samsung sent invitations to an Aug. 20 New York event with Barnes & Noble where a new co-branded e-book reader/tablet -- the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook -- will be announced. Earlier in the year, Barnes & Noble announced it would be spinning off its Nook business.
The new device will combine Samsung's tablet expertise (and hardware manufacturing capacity) as well as B&N's e-book reading software. The concept was initially announced in June. It's expected the 7-inch screened tablet will be one of the new devices featured two weeks later at Samsung's "Unpacked" event at IFA in Berlin alongside the next Galaxy Note phablet.
As part of the Samsung deal, according to Reuters, Barnes & Noble agreed to buy 1 million Galaxy Tab 4 tablets in the first year after launch. That could be extended to 15 months if the devices do not meet sales targets. The company still lists two tablets, the Nook HD and HD+, as well as the Nook GlowLight e-book reader on its Web site .
Google has made a big commitment to help too. Google reportedly has agreed to allow Barnes & Noble to use its new service to offer same-day book deliveries in a number of test markets. Google's Shopping Express will bring B&N goods to a customer's door the same day an order is placed if the customer lives in Manhattan, West Los Angeles or San Francisco. B&N has been delivering books from its local Manhattan outlets to customers willing to pay $25 a year for the special service. Barnes & Noble's books will also be sold on Google's Web site.
These agreements are to help B&N fend off its chief rival, Amazon
But the writing has been on the wall for two decades. Amazon started as an online bookstore in 1994. Obviously, that changed over 20 years but it also wound up changing the book-selling industry forever. Instead of being burdened with the overhead of B&N's brick-and-mortar stores, a lean and mean Amazon brought book retailing into the Internet age. Click a button and your book is on its way right to your door. Buyers had to wait a few days for gratification but the upside was that they never had to travel to a store.