Book retailer Barnes & Noble revealed on Tuesday that it is abandoning the Nook tablet hardware business to focus on the company's line of dedicated ereaders. Instead of killing the Nook tablet business outright, however, B&N is working to find third-party manufacturers to build co-branded Nook tablet devices.
Barnes & Noble's Nook isn't dead yet, but it's getting close
The company decided it was time to bail on the tablet business after losing money in a big way. Nook tablet revenue was down 34 percent year-over-year from US$168 million to $108 million. Nook losses hit $177 million during the company's fourth quarter, and $475 million for the year.
While Nook sales dropped, Barnes & Noble's digital content sales rose 16.2 percent for the year, so now the company will focus on that part of the market. It will continue to design devices in the, "single purpose black-and-white eReader category."
Competition from Apple and Amazon likely posed problems for B&N's tablet aspirations. The iPad is the go-to choice in the tablet market, and it offers several ebook reader options such as iBooks from Apple, Amazon's Kindle, and even a Nook app from B&N. Amazon's Kindle Fire lineup has been popular, too.
There haven't been any announcements as of yet as to who will be building Nook hardware.
[Update: This article has been updated to clarify that it's the Nook tablet getting the axe, and that Nook ereaders will continue. - Editor]