Is Barnes And Noble About To Go Global With The Nook?

The International Sales Advantage
I’ve mentioned in the past that Amazon has enjoyed a considerable advantage in the ebook reader market simply due to the fact that the Kindle is on sale internationally. The Kindle Touch has also, very recently, started shipping internationally – although it must be ordered through the main Amazon website and is not yet available in the countries which have their own dedicated Kindle store, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Not only does Amazon’s international presence provide a significant extra revenue stream, but it promotes customer loyalty and boosts ongoing through life sales. It means that Kindle owners will be much less likely to change allegiance in future, not once they’ve built up their own small library of Kindle books.

However, Amazon isn’t going to have it all its own way in the international arena for much longer. It seems that Barnes and Noble are preparing to launch the Nook family onto the global stage, starting in the UK.

Barnes And Noble UK Developer Workshop
On March the 19th, Barnes and Noble is holding an Android developer workshop in London. Barnes and Noble’s team will get to meet some UK developers and will be showing them some of the best ways to monetize their apps and use the Nook Developer system to best effect.

UK Nook Launch?
This is widely regarded as a precursor to a UK launch for the Nook ebook reader and tablet computers. In fact, the Nook is expected to launch at the London Book Fair, which runs from Monday April 16th to Wednesday April 18th.

nook uk launch at london book fair

It’s a major step forward for Barnes and Noble. A global presence can only help to close the gap on Amazon, something which B&N has struggled with lately – despite the fact that many reviewers consider the Nook Simple Touch to have a slight edge on the Kindle Touch (in terms of hardware at least).

Barnes and Noble will definitely be coming from behind in the UK. The Kindle has been available for shipping to the UK since early 2010 and Amazon set up a dedicated UK Kindle store in the autumn of the same year. The Kindle is well established and has a good customer base. B&N will need to fight tooth and nail for a share of the market – especially since they are not well known on the other side of the Atlantic.

However, there are rumors that Barnes and Noble may enter into a partnership with Waterstone’s – the UK’s largest high street bookstore chain. Last year Waterstone’s announced that it would have its own ebook reader hardware by the spring of 2012. Things have gone a bit quiet since then, but if Waterstone’s were to push the Nook in the UK that might be a mutually beneficial arrangement for both companies.

Which Nooks Will Launch?
If the rumors are true, holding the launch at the London Book Fair would certainly imply that the Nook Simple Touch will be landing in the UK in April. However, an app development workshop to be held in London in mid-March does seem to suggest that at least one of the Nook tablets might be heading to the UK also.

Although B&N may be a little behind Amazon in terms of getting their ebook reader into the wide world, it’s worth noting that neither the Kindle Touch or the Kindle Fire are currently available in the UK. It’s not out of the question that B&N could beat Amazon to the punch for both devices.