Success Story: B&N and the Nook in the US

With the launch and early success of Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble faced an enormous challenge as well as a big opportunity. They needed to figure out how to use their large retail footprint to sell devices and content. They also had to fund development and put in place new design, technology, and personnel expertise, all of which they have accomplished more successfully than anyone predicted in two years.

Now B&N has a unique and strong position in the digital book marketplace. Their Nook readers have delivered breakthrough features at their price point, including color screens, touchscreens, and tablet functionality, garnering very positive reviews and continuously increasing sales and market share. They have led the field in certain content areas–kids ebooks, digital magazines and newspapers full of color–and used their content relationships to develop the biggest selection of Spanish-language and other non-English ebooks on the market. While many traditional booksellers are closing stores, Barnes & Noble is using their prominent retail presence to sell digital devices and content and help their customers learn about digital media more effectively than anyone else in the space. Definitive numbers on device sales are hard to get, but there are some indications that Nook is now the top-selling ereader in the US market.

While there is no guarantee that any other brick-and-mortar retailer elsewhere in the world will execute the way Barnes & Noble has, the BN playbook is being closely watched, analyzed and emulated all over. Many in the trade hope that Barnes & Noble will expand or license internationally, just as publishers around the globe hope to encourage a digital publishing environment that supports multiple strong retailers. Michael Cader and Mike Shatzkin will interview some key B&N executives to discover more about how they used their advantages to overcome a late start and sprint to a leadership position in the ebook race.

Jim Hilt

Vice President of eBooks, Barnes & Noble

Jim Hilt is the Vice President of eBooks for Barnes & Noble and is responsible for overall sales, marketing, strategy and operation for ebooks. He is a passionate believer that the combination of digital and physical books, along with the ability to buy and read them anywhere you want, is the future of reading.

Jim’s career has encompassed a series of early-stage entrepreneurial ventures within large companies: Prior to joining Barnes & Noble, he was the head of Product, User Experience and design for Sears Holdings, the parent of Sears and Kmart. In addition, he has held roles in business development, technology and marketing at SAP and IBM.

Theresa Horner
Vice President, Digital Content, Barnes & Noble

Patricia Arancibia
Manager of International Content Acquisition, Digital Group, Barnes &

Patricia Arancibia is in charge of the acquisition of international digital content at Barnes & Noble, where she manages the relations with international corporations, publishers, and governmental agencies. Patricia was previously the Merchandising Manager in charge of eBooks, Nonfiction Books, and Libros en español at B&, where she launched the eBooks Store and Libros en español online. She grew up in Buenos Aires, where she earned a degree in Communication Sciences and a Masters in Journalism, and went from reporter to senior editor in newspapers, magazines, TV, and websites. In New York, Patricia received a masters in Publishing at NYU, and became a book, ecommerce & digital business person.