I'm sure smarter people than me will be sounding off on this soon, but I will say that I am not terribly surprised by the latest Nook news coming out Barnes & Noble's corporate headquarters. I don't think it's been much of a secret that Barnes & Noble has been struggling to define its Nook brand, particularly against strong competition from Amazon and Apple's iPad tablets. Beyond that, I don't have much to offer at the moment.
While I would certainly prefer to have several large bookseller brands competing over customers, rather than falling one by one like dominoes in the wake of one particular brand that has won out to become the dominating force in the market, that competition
should must spur creative decisions and innovations. With Nook being spun off into its own entity, separate from Barnes & Noble, it, maybe, has a chance to stand on its own and try new things.
The blunt truth of it all, at least in my opinion, is that Amazon has been innovative and led the charge in the digital book world, and everyone else has been struggling to catch up and too heavily focused on playing copy-cat on the things that have worked so well for Amazon. Barnes & Noble just doesn't have the same measure of customer reach, nor does it carry the same weight of innovation and consumer interest as Apple and Amazon. Kobo has been a strong contender in areas outside the US, whereas B&N has virtually no reach overseas, aside from their Windows 8 app, leaving an entire global market untapped.
Again, just my opinion, but I think the odds are stacked quite a bit against them and they have their work cut out for them if they hope to be around for another year or two. As Matt Krantz said (linked below from USA Today), what Nook really needs at this moment is a miracle.
Also worth reading:
USA Today: http://americasmarkets.usatoday.com/2014/06/26/ask-matt-should-i-buy-the-nook-spin-off/
The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/06/25/barnes_and_noble_to_jettison_nook/