Barnes & Noble to Build Nook With Samsung

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Barnes & Noble Inc.’s (NYSE: BKS) Nook could begin a resurrection after years of poundings by Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Kindle and the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad. The deeply trouble book retailer will produce co-branded Nook models with Samsung, which has offered its own challenges to the iPad. The recovery pits Barnes & Noble against companies with much greater marketing capacity, larger balance sheet power and huge earnings.

The two companies announced:

[A] partnership to develop co-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK tablets that feature the award-winning Barnes & Noble digital reading experience.

The co-branded devices will combine popular Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 hardware with customized NOOK software to give customers powerful, full-featured tablets that are designed for reading, with easy access to Barnes & Noble’s expansive digital collection of more than three million books, leading magazines and newspapers.

The companies are expected to introduce Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK in a 7-inch version in the U.S. in early August. The co-branded tablets will be prominently displayed along with NOOK eReaders and sold at Barnes & Noble’s nearly 700 bookstores across the U.S. and online at bn.com, one of the leading e-commerce sites.

Barnes & Noble has to boast about sales of a product that never caught on well. Amazon has used its customer base and brand power to introduce version after version of the Kindle, which has evolved from a simple e-reader into a powerful tablet, and one of the few challengers to the iPad. The Kindle comes with multiple screen sizes. And Amazon uses the Kindle as a portal to its massive bookstore and premium video service. Barnes & Noble may have a large e-book library based on titles. However, it cannot match Amazon’s movie and premium television service.

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Clearly Apple already holds the largest share of the tablet market, which makes it nearly impossible for new tablets to gain market share.

The Nook had so little success in its previous incarnations that the odds against the Samsung version are extremely high.

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