Hilt to leave B&N

Hilt to leave B&N

Barnes & Noble’s head of global e-book sales Jim Hilt will be leaving the company in February, with no indication that a replacement will be made.
Hilt, who was managing director of the international B&N unit based in Luxembourg, spent a lot of time in the UK last summer promoting Nook devices, including teaming up with the London Evening Standard through its Get London Reading campaign, in which the company donated 1,000 e-readers to the national literacy charity Beanstalk.

Executive vice president of digital content and marketing at B&N, Doug Carlson, told Publishers Lunch: “We have no additional personnel announcements at this time…We want to thank Jim for his contributions to the e-book business."

Hilt is the third Nook executive to leave the company in quick succession. Vice president for digital products hardware engineering Bill Saperstein has also left Barnes & Noble, according to Publishers Lunch, and director of digital products Jamie Iannone recently departed for Samsclub.com.

The departures follow the sharp decline of Nook devices and content sales over the last six months. In its Christmas trading statement, B&N reported that Nook devices, content and accessory sales fell by 60.5% year-on-year in the nine weeks to 28th December 2013, to $125million. Within that, device and accessory sales plunged by 66.7% year-on-year and content sales decreased by 27.3%. Sales through the bookstores and B&N website also fell by 6.6% in the run up to Christmas, to $36.5m.
However, despite the free-falling Nook sales, B&N spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating said the company intended to “aggressively drive revenue growth” going forward. She said: "We believe we have a strong management team in place at Nook having recruited significant new talent, including Mahesh Veerina (c.o.o of Nook Media). 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."

In June 2012, B&N said it planned to launch the Nook e-reader and digital bookstore in “10 countries within 12 months.”