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Barnes & Noble's Nook limps into holidays with weak earnings

The bookseller's devices and e-books business blames "lower average selling prices and lower device unit sales" for a more than 32 percent decrease in revenue during its fiscal second quarter.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Barnes & Noble's Nook operation continues its steep decline.

The Nook business, which includes Barnes & Noble's devices, e-books, and accessories, lost $45.2 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) during the company's second fiscal quarter ended October 26, according to an earnings release from the bookseller on Tuesday. That's slightly better than the $51.4 million Nook lost last year.

The Nook operation generated $108.7 million in second-quarter revenue, a 32.2 percent decrease compared to the $160.3 million in revenue the Nook business generated in the same period last year.

Barnes & Noble's e-readers and tablets are widely viewed as some of the better offerings in the mobile space. The company's sales, however, continue to decline as major competitors like Apple and Amazon attract more consumers. What's worse for Barnes & Noble, the Nook operation is one of the only black marks on an otherwise healthy business -- during the second quarter, its retail and college businesses generated more than $120 million in earnings.

This time around, Barnes & Noble attributed its Nook business troubles to "lower average selling prices and lower device unit sales." What's clear, however, is that something needs to be done to revive that ailing operation.