B&N Meets Microsoft

The big industry news from yesterday, which I was too busy traveling to comment on, was the deal between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft regarding the Nook e-reader. John Scalzi has some thoughts on it here.

My own view is that this is a very smart move by both of them. B&N in particular was handicapped by the poor quality of its online presence compared to Amazon. Microsoft has the software expertise and deep pockets required to invest heavily in a better shopping experience, and hopefully a worldwide presence. And as far as Microsoft is concerned it gives them a content platform for their Windows-based mobile devices.

Scalzi talks about wanting a better way for independent booksellers to enter the market, which is an issue I talked about here. Somehow I don’t see either Microsoft or B&N being interested in building an open distribution platform. However, the more competition there is in ebook selling, the more incentive there will be for someone to create one.

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2 Responses to B&N Meets Microsoft

  1. Martha says:

    Seems like a lot of interesting developments in a short time. How do you think that Tor’s ditching DRM will factor into this game?

    And, if I buy a Nook, can I use it to download books that i buy from you?

    • Cheryl says:

      Tor being DRM free means that their books are out of the walled garden game. If you buy a Tor book it doesn’t matter what e-reader you have. Even if it is a Kindle you can use Calibre or KindleGen to convert it. While other publishers keep DRM, it is good for Tor for the hardware guys to keep playing walled gardens, but eventually everyone will drop it and then it won’t matter.

      You can certainly read books you buy from me on a Nook. I don’t have one myself, but there are loading instructions on Goodreads which I assume are correct. What you can’t to is download direct from my store to the device. The ability to download direct from a store to a device is part of the walled garden game. There are ways around it for some devices, but implementing that in the store software isn’t easy.

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