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Not dead yet: Barnes & Noble will release new Nook tablet this year

Nook logo (1020)

Plummeting revenues be damned, Barnes & Noble still isn't giving up on the Nook. The books retailer plans to release another color tablet this year, according to CEO Michael Huseby. But the next Nook won't be built by Barnes & Noble itself. "The company is actively engaged in discussions with several world-class hardware partners related to device development as well as content packaging and distribution," Huseby said in a statement alongside B&N's quarterly financial report today. Earlier this month, Business Insider reported significant layoffs within the Nook division, claiming that most — if not all — employees focused on the tablet and e-reader line had been let go. In its earnings report, Barnes & Noble confirmed "staffing levels in certain areas of the organization have changed."

The goal is to sell more ebooks, not take down the iPad and Kindle

But Huseby isn't aiming to produce an iPad- or Kindle-killer. Rather, he said the goal of any future hardware will be to "reverse the content sales decline" and sell more ebooks. In its third quarter, Barnes & Noble took in just $57 million in digital content sales, down 26.5 percent from the same period last year. On the whole, device and accessories sales (which includes Nook hardware) were $100 million, down 58.2 percent from a year ago — and those numbers were bleak to begin with. B&N said the lack of new hardware contributed to that drop, as the company was focused on selling through existing inventory. Huseby took on the CEO role in January after formerly leading B&N's Nook Media division. Previous CEO William Lynch abruptly resigned from his post in July after proving ineffective at reversing the Nook's fate.

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