Samsung partners with book retailer for tablets

Approximately 10 days before Amazon.com announces its mysterious new device — expected to be a 3D smartphone –one of its chief rivals, Barnes & Noble Inc. is trying to steal a bit of its thunder by forging a partnership with Samsung.

Samsung has agreed to work with Nook Media, a subsidiary of book retailer Barnes & Noble, on a co-branded development deal to create Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablets that will feature the company’s proprietary digital reading technology.

The co-branded devices will also combine Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 hardware with customized Nook software. The market positioning here is to present to users a full-featured tablet that’s designed specifically for reading.

In addition, users will get access to Barnes & Noble’s digital collection of more than three million books, magazines and newspapers.

Both companies confirmed the launch date for the first Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, a seven-inch model, will be in early August. The co-branded tablets will be displayed along with Nook eReaders across 700 Barnes & Noble bookstores. For Canadians, they can get access to these tablets online at bn.com.

Michael P. Huseby, CEO of Barnes & Noble, called the partnership with Samsung a major milestone in the company’s efforts to rationalize the Nook business. Working with Samsung on co-branded tablets will allow Barnes & Noble to reduce its exposure to the substantial cost structure and other financial commitments that accompany ownership of the hardware production aspects of the Nook tablet business. Also, standing behind these great new devices will be 40,000 Barnes & Noble booksellers combined with bookselling and retail expertise to provide sales support and personalized in-store customer service.

Huseby added that the company will continue to offer its Nook GlowLight and provide support for that product.

Barnes & Noble was stung earlier this year when it reported a 60 per cent drop in its digital division sales. Book sales from its brick and mortar stores were also in decline during this period.

Another issue the company is dealing with is pricing e-books at higher prices than similar books listed for sale on Amazon.com; in some cases more than double.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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