A Nook digital reading offer will be live in the UK by mid-October through an online storefront, Barnes & Noble has announced.
Customers will be able to access the Nook content and devices through the website www.nook.co.uk, with the company saying that partnerships with “well-known” UK retailers, both physical and online, were expected to be “announced shortly”.
It is the first time B&N has expanded internationally, outside the US.
The first products to be available will be Nook Simple Touch and the Simple Touch with GlowLight for reading in darkness. No UK prices are yet available for either product.
William J. Lynch, chief executive officer at Barnes & Noble, said: “We are proud to be able to offer our top-rated line of Nook reading devices and our award-winning digital bookstore to the discerning and highly educated consumers in the UK.” He added: “We’re confident our award-winning technology, combined with our expansive content – including books, children’s books, magazines, apps, movies and more – will bring UK customers the option they’ve been waiting for.”
UK customers will be able to access more than 2.5m digital titles including books, newspapers, magazines, comics and nook apps. A B&N spokesperson said that further product, pricing and availability details will be announced in the coming weeks.
The industry has been anticipating the launch of the Nook e-reading platform for several months, with the American company first linked to Waterstones in the UK, before Waterstones announced its deal to sell the Amazon Kindle in May.
Foyles c.e.o Sam Husain has said he would not “rule out” any e-reader or e-book retailing option, including the Nook. Tesco is also thought to be a potential retail partner after rival supermarket Sainsbury’s recently cemented its commitment to selling digital books when it bought a controlling stake in e-book platform Anobii in June 2012. Meanwhile Waterstones m.d. James Daunt has said that the chain's deal with Amazon to stock the Kindle is "non-exclusive".
Barnes & Noble revealed in April that Microsoft had invested $300m in buying a 17.6% stake in the company, forming “a new subsidiary” of the bookselling chain to include the store’s Nook, digital and college business in order to “accelerate the transition into e-reading”. The bookseller has since revealed plans to launch a Nook digital bookstore in 10 countries within 12 months.
In June this year, B&N reported revenues for its Nook digital business of $933m for the full year to 28th April, an increase of 45% for the period.