Nook HD Barnes & Noble is extending its Father’s Day Nook HD sale. Just to recap in case you missed it, that means the Nook HD (7-inch model) is starting at $129, while the HD+ is starting at $149.

I kinda wish I’d waited when I bought mine during the Mother’s Day sale. I thought $149 for the HD was a good deal. Saving another $20 would have been nice.

Of course, this raises the question about the future of the Nook hardware, and I can’t help but read this as negative on that front. Companies do not discount successful products this heavily. This sounds like a move to clear inventory. Since I’m hearing nothing about a replacement product, I’m thinking this means the Nook line is on the way out.

Which raises another question: Should you buy one, even at these rock-bottom prices? Well, it depends. Even if B&N abandons the Nook line, you can still load Google Play apps, which means your device will still be a functioning tablet for some time. It’s unlikely to get an upgrade to Jelly Bean, but honestly, I don’t miss it that much.

However, it doesn’t have a camera, and that might be a deal breaker for you. One month in, I can say it’s not quite as stable as my Nexus 7. And Google Play and pre-installed Nook apps don’t always play well together. Twitter comes pre-installed, and I also have it as a “purchased” app on my Google Play account. Twitter tries to update itself at least once a day, which is annoying, but I’m living with it.

So it’s up to you. I still think it’s the best tablet-like e-reader out there. I spend most of my time using about seven apps (plus the native reader), and it runs those well. Right now I’m only using my Nexus 7 to play emulated GameBoy Advance games (using a side-loaded emulator I can’t install on my Nook). I could live without Pokemon and Fire Emblem, so arguably I could make my Nook HD my only Android device, but I’m glad I don’t have to make the choice.

Still, I’m expecting an announcement soon, perhaps by the end of the summer, that Barnes & Noble is getting completely out of the hardware business.


  1. I know that all the pundits are looking at this sale as B&N abandoning the Nook line. They may well be right, I certainly have no inside information, but there is another way to look at it.

    Saturday I went to my local B&N because I wanted to buy another power cable for the HD+ I had purchased 2 weeks prior; I was tired of moving the plug depending on where I was when I wanted to recharge the unit. When I arrived at the store, there was already a line of 7 people waiting to buy a Nook. Of the 7, 4 bought the HD+ and 3 bought the HD. When it came my turn, I bought just the power cable and as I was turning to leave, saw 3 more people waiting behind me.

    My point is that B&N has found the price that entices people to buy the Nook. Perhaps they have decided to emulate Amazon and take a hit on the hardware as a way to get more people signed on to the B&N (as opposed to the Amazon) ecosystem. These tablets will still look good in 2 years. Maybe not be as nice as the then standard tablets, but the HD and HD+ really do work well and provide a good experience.

    I was not interested in the HD+ because of Google; I am not particularly interested in apps or Google+ and considering that Google reads all Gmail and Google+, I avoid them like they are the plague. (I’m of the generation that does like to maintain a bit of privacy.) I know that not one of the people in front of me in the B&N line even asked about Google. They all asked about buying ebooks from B&N and reading them. One also asked about Netflix.

    Anyway, perhaps this is really about expanding the ecosystem rather than dropping Nook altogether. Time will tell.

  2. @Richard, I hope you are correct. I’ve loved the Nook line since my Nook Color, and I want them to continue.

    I’m not surprised no one asked about Google Play. I’m well aware that’s a niche feature for us techies. Users probably figure it out later, after they’ve played around with the device for a while and learn about an app they’d like to try out. Also why I’m just not that worried about the lack of side-loading. I know some are up in arms about it (still), but it’s an even smaller niche than those of us who want Google Play.

  3. I’m wondering what to make of the fact that the e-ink models aren’t being reduced? Maybe they feel they’re low enough? But it seems like whatever is driving B&N to lower the HD/HD+ prices (whether to build up higher volume or to dump inventory) would probably be true for the e-ink models as well.

  4. @Julie, you can disable an app by editing your profile. I had two apps not play well together (a pre-loaded nook one vs. the continual google update of Pandora). By clicking on your profile avatar, click on edit profile…choose yours, click on manage content and uncheck the conflicting B&N app…if you prefer google or uncheck the google app if you prefer the B&N version). The other version will still work just fine on your profile. I just unchecked the offending apps for both our profiles and no conflicts after that.

  5. @Juli (sorry about the misspelling earlier, my autocorrect doesn’t like to do it without an e), you are welcome. Pandora would constantly uninstall the google version, load the nook version and then try to update via the google version. It really made me crazy. By disabling it, it solved my biggest complaint re: the nook.

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