Barnes & Noble Nook Sales Are Down 50% But A New Nook Color Is Coming This Year

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In its most recent financial quarter B&N’s Nook business saw a 50.4 percent decrease in revenue and 58.2 percent decrease in device sales over the previous year. But the Nook is not dead. In fact in today’s statement announcing the company’s 2014 third fiscal quarter results, the CEO states a new Nook Color is still in the works.

“The Company is actively engaged in discussions with several world-class hardware partners related to device development as well as content packaging and distribution,” said Michael P. Huseby, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “As a result, we plan to launch a new NOOK color device in early fiscal 2015.”

B&N’s 2014 fiscal year ends in late April and the company had historically launched devices around that time, but more recently we’ve seen them launch new products between September and November. Today’s statement leaves plenty of wiggle room. The market might not see a new Nook Color device until the fall.

But does the market even want a new Nook Color device? Based on the numbers, probably not.

The company’s Nook segment is in the red. Revenues fell 50.4 percent from last year’s levels to $157 million. Device sales dropped 58.2 percent to $100 million. Even digital content sales saw a 26.5 percent decline to $57 million.

B&N states that these declines were the result of selling through existing product inventory and not introducing new, significantly upgraded hardware. Instead, as witnessed late last year, B&N rolled out slightly upgraded Nook Color products that were anything but exciting.

Once the only player in the media tablet game, B&N has essentially lost the market it founded. Outflanked by products like the Kindle Fire, Nexus 7 and countless cheap Android tablets, the Nook Color is now fighting an uphill battle against combatants thoroughly dug in. B&N’s losses will continue, and this is quickly becoming a battle B&N is not positioned to win.