Nook’s VP of Marketing on “Delivering An Experience” on Ereaders
With ereader sales declining, revenues down, and an important partnership winding up, Barnes & Noble's Nook seems to be coming into the holiday season with some baggage. Where, at Nook, is the holiday cheer to be found?
I spoke with Jeanniey Mullen, VP of Marketing for Nook. Jeanniey spent five years developing and marketing Zinio's award-winning digital magazine newsstand. She took from that experience a deep understanding of what drives people to read digitally, the trends in digital reading, and the expectations and rewards that support the ereading experience.
Today's readers, Jeanniey explains, are no longer as motivated by the latest device available. They have already experimented with formats, and many have settled onto devices they feel comfortable with in terms of size, display, and customization. The hardware these readers now own is sophisticated, and the reading experience is better. As a consequence, readers are keeping their tablets longer.
The last few years have brought enormous shifts in the digital reading marketplace, acknowledges Jeanniey. Consumption of digital books has evolved from a device-driven novelty to a necessity for readers who always want their reading material with them. At the same time, these readers have grown attached to the ereading devices they already own.
What does this mean to a company like Barnes & Noble, which invested heavily in its Nook and reaped the benefit in annual Nook sales as more digital consumers came into the market and continually upgraded their formats?
"The next step is to take the reading experience to the next level," says Jeanniey. Books, after all, are about immersion in reading-not about the platform. However, digital delivery can enhance the reading experience through connectivity with a larger community and more instantaneous communication. These features can facilitate relationship building, not only with other community members, but with the authors themselves. Nook provides access to fresh new voices and allows reader engagement with independent authors: What did they think of the latest character? Where might the next book take place?
Barnes & Noble aims to bring content discovery to life through a number of holiday and ongoing initiatives. Their BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) allows readers to gather with whatever ereader they prefer and engage in content in a way that is most personal to them. They recently launched an audiobook app. Through a six-question "What kind of reader are you?" quiz, they develop reader profiles and recommend reading material based on participants' lifestyles.
Nook is developing partnerships that further enhance the reading experience. Along with Grandparents.com, they created an initiative around the Peter Pan/NBC launch, providing a free download code for grandparents to read the classic story out loud to their grandchildren. A partnership with Travel Zoo allows Nook to recommend the best books to bring for holiday travel reading. A partnership with Fandango offers a free download of The Hobbit book when a customer buys a ticket for the movie.
"We're working with authors to create content and to elevate exposure to that content," says Jeanniey. For the holiday season, Nook has created a "Little Black Book" series, covering holiday topics of perennial interest: chocolate, holiday drinks, hors d'oeuvres.
"We want to be the brand that opens your mind to new ways to read, new things to read, new authors to follow," says Jeanniey. "We're delivering the books, and along with that we're delivering an experience. People spend an average of 11 hours a week reading-books, articles, print, or audio. Regardless of what they are looking for in terms of form or content, we can engage them in the Nook environment."
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.