Nook shuts up shop in UK and switches customers to supermarket

The Nook Press UK operation is closing down on March 15 and customers are being transferred to a supermarket’s digital site.

The firm says Nook store customers in the UK will continue to have access to their purchased ebooks until May 31, 2016 and will then be switched to Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand.

But British readers could face losing many of the ebooks in their Nook library, particularly self-published titles, as although Sainsbury’s does have some self-published content through aggregators, it doesn’t deal direct with indie authors and doesn’t have anywhere near the range of self-published content and ebooks from smaller publishers there was on Nook.

British Nook customers might want to consider downloading ebook purchases to their desktop or laptop computer to save the titles and convert them for reading a Kindle or other device.

Until 2014, Nook allowed straightforward download of purchased ebooks for back-up but they suddenly ended the option. However, it’s still possible to download your books and you can find details at The E-book Reader.

Once the titles have been downloaded, it’s possible to convert the files to other formats using the free Calibre software. You can find more details about conversion options at Trusted Reviews.

The move doesn’t mean UK-based authors can’t still self-publish with Nook as you can continue to use Nook Press to publish digital content in the US and be paid in your local currency.

After March 15, Nook titles will be available for sale in the US only, with a list price in US dollars. For new titles, you will no longer be able to set pricing in British Pounds or Euros. For existing titles, no changes need to be made by you at this time.

But if you are making a change to the Book Details, the Sales Territory Rights will default to United States only. Sales reports will continue to report any sales of titles in the UK that were sold before the discontinuation date.

Barnes & Noble only opened the Nook UK store in 2014 and it never made much of an impact in the British market despite having a link-up with Blackwells bookstores which stocked the Nook tablets.

The UK ebook market is dominated by Amazon’s Kindle, which is reckoned to have a market share as high as 90%.

Sainsbury opened its ebook operation in 2012 when it bought restructuring HMV’s share of the Anobii site for the princely sum of £1. Other Anobii stakeholders included major traditional publishers Penguin and Harper.

Last year, Tesco supermarket shut down its ebook operation in the UK and passed on its customers to Kobo, which, with a supermarket passing on customers to a specialist ebook retailer, was the opposite of what is happening with the Nook move and was obviously a far better option for customers.

In the US, Nook’s share of the ebook market is reckoned to have plummeted from around 25% in 2010 to under 10% now, although it’s still the third-biggest ebook store, behind second-placed Apple iBooks and Amazon, which has now has an overwhelming share of nearly 75%, according to figures from AuthorEarnings. If the Nook store did eventually close down in the US, where would the customers be transferred — the Walmart ebook store? Let us hope that if it ever comes to a final Nook shutdown they have the sense to do a deal with Kobo to look after their customers.

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