In a recent post we talked about the future of ebooks. I compared the market with a Gartner model called the Hype Cycle and noted that the ebook market has reached a point where we should expect to see experiments and implementations fail to deliver. I noted that companies would eithers find business models that make money, or fail. Basically some of the less viable ideas and business models would fail, and the strong ones would continue on.
At the moment Barnes and Noble seem to be the ones with a business model that is failing. Their third quarter results show a 1.8 per cent drop in sales for the third quarter ending January 2016 – $1.4bn compared with $1.5bn the year before. The main culprit? Nook ereader sales have performed especially badly, dropping by a third.
This morning Barnes and Noble took action and decided to exit the UK Digital Market. The bookstore operator has announced it will stop selling digital content, including fiction and non-fiction books, magazines and videos, from March 15, referring existing customers to Sainsbury's on Demand service instead.
Barnes and Noble are unlikely to be the only ones reviewing the business cases around their digital offerings. It will be interesting to see how the market looks this time next year.