Barnes & Noble shuts down UK Nook eBook service
March 4, 2016 // 2:28 p.m.
Book seller Barnes & Noble has announced that it is closing down its eBook operation in the UK, pushing its customers to the Entertainment on Demand service from supermarket Sainsbury's as an alternative.
The rise of affordable tablets has hit the market for dedicated eReaders hard. While reading a text-based book on an e-Ink or other electronic paper screen will always be more comfortable than using a back-lit LCD, tablets' ability to also play games, display full-colour magazines, and stream video - not to mention more prosaic tasks like browse the web and check your emails - mean that few are opting for the perceived lesser of the two device families. Sony learned this to its cost, closing down its electronic book outlet; now Barnes & Noble is doing the same, despite branching its Nook brand out into customised Android tablets - much like rival Amazon - some years ago.
'Effective from March 15, 2016, Nook will no longer sell digital content in the United Kingdom,' the Barnes & Nobel sub-brand explained in an email to customers this morning. 'The Nook Store on Nook devices sold in the UK, on the UK Nook Reading App for Android, and at nook.com/gb will cease operation.'
The company wants to reassure customers that their content will not be lost, however: it has partnered with Sainsbury's to transfer users' libraries to its Entertainment on Demand service, while it's also possible to continue using its Nook eReaders by manually side-loading eBooks via USB; loading content wirelessly, however, will be disabled, and no firmware update is planned to switch devices from the shuttered Nook store to Sainsbury's equivalent. Users are also warned that non-book content, including newspapers, magazines, and Nook Video streaming media, will not be part of the transfer; Nook Video content is to be lost altogether, while newspapers and magazines need to be downloaded before the 15th of March cut-off date after which they, too, will be gone for good.
Those who have purchased Nook Video content and who are not pleased about losing access are advised to contact Nook's support, which has indicated that it will refund the purchase price.