It appears that there were not many Nooks under Christmas trees this year. Barnes & Noble’s beleaguered line of Nook tablets and e-readers had a terrible fourth quarter. On Thursday, the company announced that Nook revenue was down 55 percent from the year-ago period.
Nook revenue doesn’t just include Nook hardware — it also includes digital content and accessories. Device and accessory sales were down a whopping 68 percent from last year to $56 million in the most recent quarter. Sales of ebooks and digital audiobooks (only) dropped 25 percent to $27.4 million.
In 2014, [company]Barnes & Noble[/company] changed its Nook hardware strategy. Previously, Nooks were unique Android-based tablets that were specifically designed for Barnes & Noble. But the Nook launched last year was merely a re-branded and slightly skinned version of one of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablets, which allow users to install the Kindle app as well as other apps for purchasing ebooks from the Google Play app store.
Although the company didn’t break out sales for specific Nook products, it appears the new [company]Samsung[/company] Nook was powerfully unpopular this holiday season. However, it’s possible that Android tablets in general had disappointing sales in the past quarter.
It’s also possible that the Samsung Nooks met expectations but other Nook hardware flopped. Barnes & Noble sells a e-ink reader, the Nook Glowlight, which didn’t see an update in 2014 even as Amazon’s line of e-ink Kindles received price cuts and upgrades and a new high-end model.
In December, Barnes & Noble bought out Microsoft’s stake in Nook Media.