Why should authors or readers care? Barnes & Noble are not dropping NOOK, they supposedly are negotiating with potential partners to take over for Microsoft. Will the tech ever catch up with Kindle, which is now more like a full functioning tablet? Likely not. NOOK owners love them as they are. The problem with NOOK is it is merely a symptom of B&N's overall illness: slow-thinking Corporate Mentality.
Back in the heyday of The Big Box Bookstore, B&N was a vibrant company which allowed its store managers leeway to interact with their local communities. Here in Tucson for example, one B&N store held a Local Author Night every month, inviting even independently published authors to participate. For a time, despite Amazon's growth into the behemoth that now dominates the market, stores which maintained their local ties remained at least somewhat viable. But when Corporate stripped individual managers of their flexibility to "save money," Author Night and other community involvement programs bit the dust, eliminating reasons for locals to go to B&N. Many never returned.
Barnes & Noble has also sought to inject excitement into its stores to combat the tepid store traffic that has plagued much of the retail industry. The retailer has gotten more creative with how it organizes its titles, added new displays and toys, and introduced big-ticket gifts like a $100 Crosley turntable ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season.
Hey B&N, here's a suggestion: Try involving the book-loving community again. New displays are not enough reason to step into a store. Neither are toys when people can get them at every other retailer in town. Have you ever heard someone say, "Ooh, I heard B&N has reorganized its titles and displays! Let's check it out!"
Give the managers free rein to organize writing nights or Local Night or any decent reason to actually invite the book-loving public into their stores and you may find sales will crawl upward again. It may not save NOOK from its descent into the Betamax dust bin, but you may be able to earn customer loyalty back, at least a little.