Is Microsoft getting into the e-reader business?

Why is Microsoft buying up Nook Media from Barnes & Noble?
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor on

Rumors are swirling that Microsoft has plans to purchase Nook Media, the digital publishing arm of Barnes & Noble, for $1 billion. Microsoft already owns 17 percent of Nook Media but wants to acquire all of its assets, including a college book division and the digital operation of e-books and Nook e-readers and tablets.

Huh? I thought the e-reader was quickly losing its appeal to consumers? Last year, e-reader sales were down 36 percent and dropping. And Nook isn't even the top selling e-reader. So what does Microsoft want from Nook? Christopher Mims explains at Quartz:

Microsoft, wisely, doesn’t care much about the e-reader business. The same document obtained by TechCrunch revealing the possibility of an acquisition also suggests the Nook e-reader will be killed off by 2014. Rather, Microsoft wants all the content and publisher relationships that Nook has built up. In other words, Microsoft want to become a retailer of e-books, just like Amazon and Apple.

Meanwhile, the speculation has done wonders for Barnes & Noble stock, as it jumped over 20 percent today. But without Nook you have to wonder if this would be the beginning of the end for the book retailer.

Why Microsoft is willing to pay $1 billion for Nook: E-readers are dying, but publishing is forever [Quartz]

Photo: Flickr/somenametoforget

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