Investors Optimistic on Barnes & Noble Over Nook Success

Pre-orders for new Nooks are up 240% over prior launches

By Christopher Freeburn, InvestorPlace Writer

Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) estimates that its Nook  Media unit, which combines its tablet, e-book and college textbooks business, will produce revenue of $3 billion in 2012. Analysts say the bookseller’s Nook business grew about 30% over last year, offsetting slower growth at its textbook business. In a recent vote of confidence, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) acquired a 17.6% stake in Nook Media, Reuters noted.

Investors also appeared pleased with the news, sending shares of Barnes & Noble up more than 8% on Thursday, though shares retreated more than 3% in Friday morning trading.

October Is the Month of the Tablet
October Is the Month of the Tablet

In September, Barnes & Noble unveiled updated Nook tablets, including its Nook HD, which can play video. The new tablets position the company to compete in the burgeoning 7-inch tablet market, where it faces rival devices from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and a widely-expected entry from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), meant to fend off competition from smaller Android-based tablets. It also introduced the Nook HD+ with a 9-inch screen, targeting Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and the existing iPad.

Company officials said that advance orders for the new tablets were 240% higher than previous Nook device launches.

The company will begin selling e-books through its website in nine new countries by the middle of next year. It is already selling e-books in the United Kingdom.

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