Account owners on the Nook store will have received a strict e-mail on the evening of Thursday the 3rd of March, which announced that the digital bookseller is ceasing operations in the UK.
To cut to the chase, the Nook store will be ceasing sales on the 15th March 2016. Purchased content will remain accessible until the 31st May 2016, after which the Nook service and all user accounts (along with their purchased content) will be closed for good.
There is a contingency in place for this, however. In the same e-mail, the Nook team announced that they had partnered with the “award winning” storefront Sainsbury's Entertainment on Demand to transfer existing customer purchases (yes, the same people you buy pepperoni from).
Critical to note here is that the e-mail indicates that Nook anticipate that the “vast majority” of purchases will transfer over. For the purposes of digital manga, it is worth noting that at present the Sainsbury's storefront offers no form of graphic novels or manga, either in general or from searching for exact series. The FAQ provided alongside the announcement indicates that any books that cannot be transferred will qualify the user for a digital voucher of the purchase price for use on the Sainsbury’s e-book store.
The owners of Nook, the US-based Barnes and Noble bookchain, have been steadily reducing both their digital and international presence recently and this move is another step in this process. With the benefit of hindsight, it also explains the recent stagnation of the store, both in terms of new titles being added and lessening support for their applications, such as the Windows 8 app. This move is no doubt a blow to the digital manga landscape in the UK - while not without their shortcomings (especially with regard to title availability over the last year), the Nook store has been one of the bigger names in the space and their loss reduces consumer choice overall. While Sainsbury's Entertainment on Demand could rise to take their place in the digital manga space, frankly we remain highly skeptical.
The offer to transfer existing titles to a new store is a sensible compromise for customers; however this only works if the titles are available on the new storefront - we certainly don't relish the prospect of losing access to their manga and receiving a gift voucher for a store they wish to buy nothing from in return!
For more information, you can view the notice posted to UK customers here, and also view the FAQ page on the Barnes and Noble site here.