General Manager, Digital Newsstand and Emerging Digital Content, Barnes & Noble
Shar is perfecting the NOOK newsstand to enhance the digital content offerings of the deviceâ€”a welcomed move for publishers.
Every publisher says it: We want to be everywhere the reader is. As the iPad takes off, Shar is pushing back and turning Barnes & Nobleâ€™s NOOK into a â€śmust-beâ€ť space for magazines.
Shar is responsible for the end-to-end relationships that customers have with digital periodical contentâ€”everything from a userâ€™s reading and discovery experience to the organization and delivery of digital content on the NOOK Newsstand.
â€śA little less than 18 months ago is when NOOK Newsstand really launched,â€ť he says. â€śWe needed to create a customized and truly immersive experience for NOOK Color. We focused on the user experienceâ€”we wanted to take a beautiful magazine and keep the true equity of the individual brands intact while making them readable on NOOK Color.â€ť
Over the last year, Shar says his biggest accomplishment was working aggressively to ensure that Barnes & Noble could step into a new role with magazine publishers and their consumersâ€”one that extends outside of print and into digital. While the offering has helped publishers increase content sales and foster digital discoverability, Sharâ€™s work has helped Barnes & Noble become a major player. During the nine-week holiday period ending December 31, 2011, NOOK sales increased 70 percent over the same period last year. Digital content sales grew by 113 percent for the same period.
â€śThe opportunity with digital is really amazing,â€ť he says. â€śThe relationships we have with customers, through the brands they love and subscribe to, we have an opportunity like never before. Weâ€™re focused on taking the value proposition to the next level.â€ť
VITAL STATS: As of January 2011, the NOOK Newsstand exceeded 650,000 digital periodical subscriptions and single copy sales. The consolidated NOOK business across all of the companyâ€™s segments, including sales of digital content, device hardware and related accessories, increased 38 percent during the third quarter to $542 million, on a comparable sales basis.Â NOOK unit sales as of February increased 64 percent during Barnes & Nobleâ€™s third quarter. Digital content sales increased 85 percent, which include digital books, digital newsstand products and the apps business.