There has been plenty of coverage about the Barnes & Noble Nook eBook reader.
All of it has overlooked something that’s very important.
Barnes & Noble is also a publisher.
And I don’t mean some cheap little public domain reprint POD house (such as, say, Google).
These guys have a true appreciation for books and writers.
Most people don’t know this.
But I do and here’s what most people don’t know…
At the beginning of this century, I was part of an online group and someone posted about seeing an extraordinary documentary called Stone Reader. The praise was so effusive, I looked it up on the web, found out when it was playing in New York City, and went to see it.
This is its trailer:
Oh, that documentary was wonderful. It had to be the biggest love letter ever written to any writer.
What came out of it was that Barnes & Noble brought that book, The Stones of Summer, back into print. (See part of a press release issued at that time; see Publishers Weekly coverage at that time; even Maud Newton had a mention at her site!).
But not just that. They had writer Dow Mossman out to New York City to launch the re-publication and several hundred people showed up (I was one of them). (Wow, I just spoiled the documentary with that revelation. Forget you read it!)
Now how many of you can imagine Amazon ever doing something like that? Amazon is not a bookseller or a publisher — Amazon is an online version of Wal-Mart.
Can you imagine writer-robbing Google doing that? Cue my bitter laugh.
No. Barnes & Noble did that.
And they did it when there wasn’t the attention they have today, post-Nook.
And that is Barnes & Noble’s secret weapon: they give a shit about books and writers.
They’ll be able to offer exclusive books that Amazon, Google, and others, will never be able to sell.
I’ve surprised myself by having two prior posts here mentioning Dow Mossman, one in which I stated:
Barnes & Noble will do what Borders has never done: promote the hell out of eBooks as if their life depended on it.
Emphasis in the original.
And another one in which I searched for The Stones of Summer as an eBook.
Barnes & Noble is keen to escape the fate of Tower Records, so expect them to really push it.
They’ve already shown with the design of the Nook that they aren’t content to do what everyone else has been doing.
Perhaps they will even revive the flagging fortunes of the Lost Books Club.
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