The Barnes & Noble Nook line of e-readers and its more media-friendly Nook Color and Nook Tablet entries have gained a lot of fans here in the US, but in international markets they’re basically a no-show. That may be coming to an end soon: a Nook developer workshop will be held on March 19th in London, reports E-Book Magazine. That’s definitely an indication that Barnes & Noble is interested in the UK market, where its competitor Amazon has had basically free rein for the last few years.
Now, there’s no guarantee here that the Nook line is going anywhere. Developers for Barnes & Noble’s proprietary NOOK Apps store use the same tools and most of the same standards that regular Android developers do, since the Nook Color and Nook Tablet are based on Android 2.2 and 2.3, respectively. There’s no reason for Barnes & Noble not to court international developers, who have as much to gain on Nook hardware as anything else, regardless of where it’s sold.
Barnes & Noble has no retail stores in the United Kingdom, so they’d need to sell their Nook hardware through existing retailers. That also means that they’d need to get agreements with UK book publishers, no small task in a cutthroat business that isn’t amenable to e-books in any case. It also means that they’d be on even footing with Amazon, with no wholly-owned vector for advertising or tie-ins like free WiFi access in stores. Barnes & Noble needs to expand its potential customer base if it wants to continue to grow its business, and that means international expansion is a given. We just hope it’s sooner rather than later.