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It’s Official: B&N Has Ended Support for Nook PC, Mac Apps

June 11th, 2013 by · 47 Comments · Barnes & Noble, ebookstore news, software news

nook_logoA little over a month ago Barnes & Noble quietly removed any mention of their Nook for PC and Nook for Mac apps, and today they confirmed to me that the apps are no longer being supported.

When my competition reported several days ago that B&N had quietly removed any mention of the Nook for PC, Mac apps from the B&N website, I was one of many that were puzzled by this inexplicable move. This story has already gotten some coverage in the blogosphere, but I held off in the hopes that this was an error of some kind. Unfortunately that is not the case.

It seemed to make little sense for B&N to remove the apps without providing a true replacement. But as unlikely as it might sound, that is exactly what has happened.

Earlier today I received an email from B&N which confirms that both apps have been retired:

We are no longer supporting NOOK for PC for Windows 2000/XP/Vista. To enjoy the NOOK content on your PC please use the NOOK for Windows 8 App or NOOK for Web. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/nook-for-web/379003594/

B&N sent me the same statement concerning the Nook for Mac app, but I don’t see a need to repeat it here.

TBH it should really come as no surprise. B&N stopped updating the PC app in November 2011 and the Mac app in March 2012 (according to the Wayback Machine at Archive.org).

That is over a year ago, meaning that the Mac app was already deadlined due to a lack of support for OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion. Also, there were no signs that either app supported all the content currently sold in the Nook Store. This now includes fixed layout ebooks (graphic novels, cookbooks, and other rich content), interactive children’s books, and more. Basically the apps had already been abandoned long before they were removed from the B&N website.

But even with the knowledge that B&N had given up on the apps long ago, IMO this move is still a poor choice. Readers might be able to use Nook for Web but they won’t be able to access all of their content. I just checked my Nook account and the majority of the ebooks I got from B&N are not compatible with Nook for Web. Of the first 120 titles listed in my account, a mere 32 could be read online.

Thrty-Two

I am lucky that I have alternate Nook apps and a Nook HD-, otherwise I would have lost access to something like 75% of the Nook ebooks I own (assuming I were dependent on the Windows app). Or at least it could cost me access to my purchased ebooks, and that brings me to B&N’s other example of mismanagement.

You see, B&N goofed a second time in that they forgot to recommend their other reading app for OSX and Windows. It’s called NookStudy, and it was launched in Summer 2010. NookStudy is more of a textbook app that a general purpose reading app, but it still reads all my Nook content and it is still available for OSX and Windows. At the very least it deserved a mention.

Update: A reader has told me that B&N has retired the support forums for NookStudy. That could be a sign that B&N is planning to get rid of that program as well. (Thanks, Tim!)

All in all, the manner in which B&N retired the Nook for PC and Nook for Mac app suggests that B&N doesn’t care much about ebooks any more. They’re not investing in the apps, they didn’t make any effort to make sure the content is compatible with the replacement, and they didn’t think to offer their other reading app for Windows and OSX.

At this point I am really hoping that the Microsoft buyout rumor is true, because B&N is cutting their losses. It looks to me like they are giving up, so I really really really hope that a white knight appears to rescue the Nook platform before B&N shuts it down completely.

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47 Comments so far ↓

  • Luqman

    Err… Windows XP users can just use Google Chrome.

  • Tracy

    I think you mean white knight.

  • Chris

    I feel really sorry for all the people who foolishly bought a Nook. I’ve been telling people that B&N is going under and Nook is being dumped. Thank god I’m a loyal Amazon supporter and spent my money on Kindles. B&N will be gone like Borders very soon.

    • flyingtoastr

      Except, you know, how BN is still a profitable company. But don’t let little things like facts get in the way of your brown-nosing!

    • ShojoBakunuy

      So, you’re honestly saying that Amazon is better than B&N in terms of hardware and ebooks? Amazon’s policy of forced advertising, revocation of legally purchased content, be it ebooks or video, and their DMR Policies are draconian to say the least. Even if B&N goes under, as an Android device, I can jailbreak my nook and keep using it until I wear out the hardware.

      As for the “B&N are going under”, as the other poster said, don’t let facts get in the way of your paranoid narrative.

    • Chris Conn

      B&N may have made a mistake getting into the tablet business because it changes so fast. It would have been smarter to hire a hardware company like google did to build the machine for them.

      The next nook will be made by someone else and it will reduce their costs. As somebody said… they’ve been in business for over 100 years. I think they’ll figure it out :-). I love to shop at real book stores, get tired of staring at screens all day. I love the convenience of my nook though.

      • Nate Hoffelder

        Not exactly. B&N’s trouble was that they made 3 generations of enhanced ereaders. If they had made an out and out tablet earlier I think they would have come out okay.

        And while it didn’t occur to anyone at the time, I think we should have taken Pandigital as a warning. That company got out of enhanced ereaders nearly as fast as they got in.

        • Chris Conn

          I agree. A small lightweight color tablet for books would be perfect. Forget the apps, the movies, the other web stuff. A tablet for people who like to read! I know a lot of people who are perfectly happy with the black and white readers.

          I would like to see them add some features to the web based reader too. Maybe they will over time.

  • Thomas

    This sort of thing is why I never “buy” anything with DRM. Sooner or later, the servers are shut off and you lose it. I never have to worry about losing the stuff I bought from Smashwords or Baen.

    • Shelly Nelson

      I ADORE Baen!!

    • ShojoBakunuy

      You’ve found DMR Content you can’t break to use on any device? I have yet to encounter legally purchased single use licensing for a copyrighted and DMR protected content that I can’t eventually use on any of my devices.

      • Donna

        How do you do it. I used to be able to access my books on nook by plugging it into the computer and viewing the nook drive when it comes up. However, when I do that now it doesn’t see anything. I am not sure what happened or if in fact it has been so long that I am not doing something correctly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • oj829

      ^ <— (An "up arrow" of agreement.)

  • fjtorres

    B&N supporting Windows 8 is something they are contractually obligated to do.
    They took the money, they have to support it.

    Considering the quality of their support, keeping the apps available would’ve cost them nothing. It may be they are sending a message out there.
    Or they have a deal to sell out to Google. ;)

  • Geert

    1. One of the advantages of B&N’s DRM is that you do not need any DRM server after downloading a book once. The encryption is completely enclosed within the E-book file. You can just copy the E-book file to as many compatible devices as you want to, as many times as you want to, no DMR server needed.
    2. The current version of Adobe Digital Editions also supports the B&N DRM, and can be used to read B&N ebooks on PC and Mac.

    • Nate Hoffelder

      Thanks for the reminder about Adobe DE. I forgot.

    • michael senkinc

      I can personally attest Adobe Digital Editions Can Not Open B&N ebooks. (at least on mac osx lion) I can open epub and epdf books that I have downloaded from the public library but not 1 single book I purchased on B&N. I can see them in my nook library alright but not open them at all. I can not even see the title of the book or author only “a string of numbers[1-9] the word epub a version number v.[1-6] .epub extension.

  • Tim Wilhoit

    It’s interesting that you mentioned NookStudy as a still viable alternative. B&N dumped the NookStudy Q&A forums into the archives a few days ago. You can no longer make new posts. I doubt that NookStudy will be around much longer.

  • Beth

    Chris, thank you so much for sharing your expert knowledge on the future of B&N. It’s people like you that are contributing to the hardship that neighborhood Barnes & Noble stores are facing by shopping with a company whose only interest is in monopolizing every industry that they sink their tentacles into. B&N is not perfect by any means. But they provide a mind-enriching service to the adults and children of their local communities.

    • fjtorres

      The same can be said of the thousands of neighborhood indie bookstore that B&N and Borders put out of business.
      And the thousands that survived the warehouse era.
      B&N fading is hardly much of a disaster, just as the Borders implosion wasn’t the end of the world.

      • ShojoBakunuy

        So, you’re part of the cult that believes that “Small Businesses” wouldn’t jump at the chance to become the next B&N? I take it you’re not aware of the fact that B&N started as a single store and then, through good management and over ONE HUNDRED YEARS of hard work became the international megacorp they are today?

        Why is it that the Anti-Corporation Crew can’t even take the time to look at the Wikipedia Page before sticking their foot in their collective mouth?

        “Barnes & Noble originated in 1886 with a bookstore called Arthur Hinds & Company, located in the Cooper Union Building in New York City. In the fall of 1886, Gilbert Clifford Noble, a then-recent Harvard graduate from Westfield, Massachusetts, was hired to work there as a clerk. In 1894 Noble was made a partner, and the name of the shop was changed to Hinds & Noble. In 1901 Hinds & Noble moved to 31-35 W. 15th Street.

        In 1917, Noble bought out Hinds and entered into a partnership with William Barnes, son of his old friend Charles; the name of the store was changed accordingly to Barnes & Noble.[12][13] Charles Barnes had opened a book-printing business in Wheaton, Illinois in 1873; William Barnes divested himself of his ownership interest in his father’s firm just before his partnership with Noble and it would go on to become Follett Corporation. Although the flagship store once featured the motto “founded in 1873,” the C.M. Barnes-Wilcox Company never had any connection to Barnes & Noble other than the fact that both were partly owned (at different times) by William Barnes.”

    • Stacey G.

      B&N certainly didn’t care about the three indie bookstores that it put out of business in my town (one of which I worked at for years). My schadenfreude knows no bounds…

  • Bill Smith

    And people wonder why Amazon destroys B&N in ebooks.

    Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing that shows that some companies are too stupid to survive.

  • Lilbits (6-11-2013): Multi-screen, multi-player mobile gaming with Chrome - Liliputing

    [...] B&N kills NOOK for PC, Mac apps I don’t know why you’d want to read an eBook on your laptop or desktop anyway, but if you do… and if B&N is your digital bookstore of choice, you’re going to have to do it in a web browser or in Windows 8, because the NOOK apps for Mac and earlier versions of Windows are gone. [The Digital Reader] [...]

    • RobTAK

      The reason for reading books on a computer to to have a window open for quotes while writing academic papers using word processors that have formatting for a particular type of documentation format. This is difficult with books that have not retained page formatting with their paper version, but it is still workable and easier than using the paper version. It also allow searching for pithy quotes by keyword. It is much easier than reading it on a smaller device.

      • ShojoBakunuy

        You can’t copy/paste off the Nook for PC app, so if you wish to quote, you would have to type it out long-hand. That’s one of the reasons why I never got into the B&N For PC. At the least, if I wanted to snag a snippet for a quote, I’d take the time to go epub > zip > html and then c/p the quotes.

      • Chris Conn

        I like to read my nook books in a browser sometimes, gives my eyes a break.

        I understand why B&N dropped the standalone app… why support 2 products that do the same thing? They improved the browser app and are focusing their efforts on that. Any software company would do the same thing and they’re not even a software company.

        • Nate Hoffelder

          Except for the fact that B&N killed the Windows and OSX apps while the browser app was crap. There was no library function, no offline mode, and it lacked basic features like annotation.

          And guess what? It’s still missing those features, so no the apps don’t do the same thing.

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  • fjtorres

    From Mobileread:
    http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2540705&postcount=52

    If true, “ending support” is more than not letting people download new copies of the apps.

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  • Tim Wilhoit

    B&N restored the links for the W7 and Mac apps. They’re a mass of indecision, it seems.

  • Barnes & Noble discontinues Nook HD, HD+ | Digital Trends

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  • Mike Perry

    I fear, B&N’s heart simply isn’t into ebooks. Early last December, I released digital versions of Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments. Sent directly, Amazon made it available overnight while Apple took about a week. The other retailers (Kobo, Sony etc) supplied through Smashwords took a week or so with the exception of B&N. It didn’t even download the file from Smashwords for over a month.

    Being a month behind everyone else in releasing new ebooks isn’t the way to win readers.

    • ShojoBakunuy

      I’ve purchased ebooks from multiple sources and used them on my Nook HD+. I’ve only purchased a handful of ebooks from B&N and doubt I’ll buy many more when I get such a wider selection elsewhere and then use an android app to read any format on the Nook itself.

  • Chris Conn

    I suspect it’s just easier for them to support a reader on a web browser and it has the added advantage of taking us through their website where we may shop for more books.

    The product I support for IBM was originally a stand-alone product and eventually our developers created a web-based product that was faster and easier to use. Modern software developers like to do everything on the web.

    I also suspect there are marketing reasons – if I had a laptop I would probably use Nook for PC rather than spend the money on a nook. The web version is not bad, good for reading sometimes when I’m sitting at my desk and re-charging the nook.

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    [...] there are Nook apps for Mac and Windows, but Barnes & Noble abandoned them some time ago. There’s also a way to read these books on a Web page, but it doesn’t work for [...]

  • Mark

    I’m not upset by the loss of the Mac app. The fact is that we are in the post PC world and how many people read books on their computer? I had the Nook app, but probably only opened it 2-3 times period. A computer is not a good book reading device. I use my Nook app on my iPad and have several books in various stages of completion. I think people read too much into their tea leaves. While BN has it’s faults, remember the others do to. As a Amazon Prime members I can’t read the books I can borrow without a Kindle. Apple is adding iBooks to OS X 10.9, but I have to wonder how much it will actually be used. It will be helpful as part of a work flow, but otherwise, I’ll read my books and magazines on my iPad.

  • Curt

    …and now Nook Study appears to be dead on OS 10.9 Mavericks. At least, it errors off for me after 5-6 seconds.

  • Jose Adnel Rodriguez

    Que mala decisión, espero que se arrepientan, están perdiendo un gran mercado!

  • Chris Conn

    Lately I’ve been reading fiction on my nook and tech books on my desktop PC browser with my B&N account. The tech books are easier to read on a browser. I think the only mistake B&N made is trying to get into the computer business (too expensive and extremely competitive). Now that they have a plan to let somebody else build the tablets they should do well.

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