Barnes & Noble's Nook didn't have a very happy holidays. Over the nine week period from just before Halloween to just after Christmas, sales of Nooks and Nook accessories totaled only $88.7 million, a major drop of 66.7 percent from last year's sales, while overall Nook revenues were $125 million, a 60.5 percent decline from this period last year. The decline in Nook hardware sales seems to have led to a sizable decline in sales of ebooks and other media too, with Barnes & Noble's digital content sales falling 27.3 percent year-over-year.
Physical bookstores managed much better
That's a series of troubling numbers for Barnes & Noble and its Nook division, the sales of which have long been declining. Barnes & Noble as a whole wasn't hit so bad though — excluding the Nook unit, its core bookstore sales only declined 0.2 percent. But that still doesn't bode well for the book store, which has been leaning on the Nook as an attempt to future-proof its business. Amazon has been able to undercut it at nearly every turn though, and it's clearly having an impact.
Barnes & Noble is chalking the huge decline in Nook revenue to a deliberate decision it made. It says that sales were so strong last year before it had just introduced two new tablets, the Nook HD and Nook HD+, whereas this year it chose to sell through its remaining stock of those devices. Even without the decreasing sales, that detail alone suggests the Nook's immediate future may not be so bright. But as of yesterday though, the former head of Nook was named the CEO of Barnes & Noble as a whole. He's placed blame for the Nook's failure on previous management decisions, but now that he's in charge, he'll have a chance to change that.