Twitter and online eBook communities were rightly unimpressed.
Both B&N and the nook are unknown in the UK.
The two brands will be arriving in a maturing market where the top two places have been secured by Amazon and Apple and the best they can hope for is to steal Kobo’s third place status.
As limited an achievement as that would be, the smart money has to be on it not happening.
Kobo has a nice product and, more importantly, is the house eReader of a major UK retail chain which devotes considerable floorspace to pushing it. In comparison, the nook has managed to secure some shelf space next to its rivals.
B&N needed something really spectacular for their overdue UK arrival but a ‘me too’ listing John Lewis isn’t it. It’s not even remotely close to being it.
John Lewis is a great store, they offer fantastic customer service, keen prices and a hassle-free two year warranty on many electrical items.
In 2007 I bought a TV from John Lewis which they promised would still be working for the Olympics. They were right. To back up that promise they throw in a 5-year warranty which I’ve never needed to call on. If I had I’m sure the after-sales service would have been fantastic.
But while it’s great that people who buy a nook will benefit from all the great customer service plus points I list above, selling the device through John Lewis isn’t all that great for B&N.
You see, John Lewis only has 37 stories across the whole UK. They’re not the sort of place you wander into on the off chance of discovering an alien, unknown brand of consumer electronics.
And if a tie-up with John Lewis was all they had for their second announcement – the first being their own UK website – then it’s easy to see why sceptics suggest there’s nothing big coming down the line.
B&N may yet shock us with some audacious partnership no-one guessed at but it’s hard to imagine where on the British high street they’ll find the support they need.
Things could yet get interesting, but my gut tells me ‘nook goes to Britain’ isn’t going to be a gripping page turner.