B&N’s Big News: New Nook Tablets, Int’l Head, UK Retail Partners

In What's the Buzz by Alex Mutter

By Alex Mutter

Barnes & Noble’s PR department has been busy over the past two days as the US bookseller rolled out its new line of Nook tablets and e-readers in the US and UK.

The Nook Simple Touch and Nook Simple Touch GlowLight, starting at £79, both went on sale in the UK today for the first time. Coinciding with the release is the announcement that B&N has appointed Patrick Rouvillois, formerly Global CMO and Head of eCommerce at Carrefour, as its new Vice President, Managing Director, International. The role is a brand new one, and Rouvillois — who will be based out of Luxembourg — is tasked with “building the Nook brand outside the US across the globe.”

B&N also announced three new retail partners for selling the Nook in the UK: Dixons Retail, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. Dixons Retail owns electrical retailers PC World and Currys, while Waitrose and Sainsbury’s are both prominent grocery store chains. The new partnerships are expected to bring the total number of UK retail outlets selling Nook products north of 2,000.

Perhaps B&N’s biggest announcement was the unveiling of two new tablets, the Nook HD and Nook HD+. The 7-inch Nook HD will start at $199 and come in two models featuring 8 GB or 16 GB of storage, while the 9-inch HD+ will start at $269 for the 16GB model and reach $299 for the 32GB. Both the HD and HD+ feature high resolution displays with 720p and 1080p playback capabilities respectively. The tablets also features a full-fledged profile system, allowing up to six users to have personalized profiles and enabling parents to put content controls on their children’s profiles — a first for tablets. The HD and HD+ will hit stores later in this fall.

Also unveiled was Nook Video, B&N’s new digital video service. The service allows users to stream and download films and TV shows to Nooks, TVs, tablets and smartphones, with all media being stored on the Nook Cloud. Nook Video will launch in the US this fall and in the UK over the holidays.

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Alex Mutter