Barnes & Noble Hooks Samsung Co-Branded

Barnes & Noble hasn’t given up on tablets yet: The bookseller announced a deal with Samsung Electronics America to develop co-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablets outfitted with B&N’s e-reader software.

The companies expect to box a 7-inch version in the U.S. in early August; pricing was not announced. The co-branded tablets will be displayed along with Nook eReaders at Barnes & Noble’s nearly 700 bookstores in the U.S. and online at BN.com.

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Barnes & Noble earlier this year made layoffs in its Nook hardware division, after sales of the tablets declined. The company has faced steep competition from Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle and other Android-based tablets including those from Samsung.

The Samsung pact is a major milestone in Barnes & Noble’s efforts to “rationalize” the Nook business, according to Barnes & Noble CEO Michael P. Huseby, letting B&N reduce its exposure to the substantial cost structure of the hardware biz.

“Partnering with Samsung brings our customers great new products and evidences our commitment to our Nook customers and growing our digital content business,” Huseby said in announcing the deal.

Also Thursday, Barnes & Noble announced that the Nook Media division will be relocated to new 88,000-square-foot facility in Santa Clara, Calif. while Barnes & Noble College’s digital education employees will relocate to a facility in Mountain View. The relocations are expected to occur by the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2015.

B&N is leasing Nook Media’s current 208,000-square-foot office space in Palo Alto, Calif., to Google. The relocation cut expenses by about $10 million annually, and reduce Nook Media’s future lease commitments by approximately $102 million. Barnes & Noble will incur an asset-impairment charge of $30 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014.

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