B&N Nook content sales up 65 percent; hardware sales sluggish

Barnes & Noble’s Nook segment was a mixed bag for the fourth quarter.

Though quarterly revenues dropped 11% year-over-year, digital content sales were up 65%.

Much of this loss was due to lackluster hardware sales. The company’s Q4 saw the release of the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, which was announced in April. There’s no explicit mention on how the new device sold, but B&N did note that hardware sales were, on the whole, down during the quarter.

This decline, the company says, came from lower selling prices, third-party channel partner returns, and, of course, plain old lower sales volume.

It’s possible the wait for the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight cannibalized the sales of its predecessor.

In summary: While consumers bought fewer Nook devices, they made up for that decline by buying more books, magazines, and apps.

Overall, B&N reported a slightly narrower loss during the quarter: $57.7 million compared to the $59.9 million loss during the same quarter last year. Total revenues rose 0.4 percent to $1.38 billion.

Going forward, the big thing to pay attention to will be Newco, the subsidiary the company formed with Microsoft  in April. B&N isn’t completely sure what it plans to do with the company, but it is sure that it wants to double down on its digital strategy going forward. And Newco will be at the core of that endeavor.