Barnes & Noble Confirms Staff Losses At Nook, But Hardware Unit Still Exists

A report from Business Insider earlier today claimed that Barnes & Noble had eliminated its Nook hardware engineering staff in its entirety. Barnes & Noble has confirmed to TechCrunch that there were “job eliminations across the organization,” but stressed that they have not in fact eliminated their hardware division as first reported.

Nook spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating provided the following statement from the company to explain the current situation and recent organizational changes:

We’ve been very clear about our focus on rationalizing the NOOK business and positioning it for future success and value creation.  As we’ve aligned NOOK’s cost structure with business realities, staffing levels in certain areas of our organization have changed, leading to some job eliminations.  We’re not going to comment specifically on those eliminations.  We believe we have a strong management team in place at NOOK, having recruited significant new talent.  The new NOOK management team is focused on managing the business efficiently so that it becomes financially strong while at the same time aggressively moving to drive revenue growth.

The Nook business hasn’t been doing well for a long time, and the unit’s revenue dropped 32.3 percent year-over-year last fiscal quarter. There have been multiple rumors about B&N considering buyers for the Nook business, but so far, it seems to remain committed to the division despite its declining fortunes.

Sony seems to be intent on extricating itself from the e-book market, where few companies have seemed to be able to weaken the Amazon stranglehold. It recently announced it was shutting down its e-book market in the U.S. and Canada, and moving existing users to Kobo. Nook remains in the game for now, but players are dropping like flies, so who knows how much longer that will remain true.