LONDON--Barnes & Noble has expanded its US relationship with Fleishman-Hillard to the UK as the bookseller steps up international plans for its e-book business.
The agency's New York office has worked with Barnes & Noble for the past three years, helping to reposition the country's largest book retailer amid rising competition from e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle and tablets like the iPad.
A key component of this strategy are the company's new Nook tablets, which are now launching in the UK, and have helped Barnes & Noble carve out a 27 percent e-book market share in the US.
Last month, the seven-inch Nook HD and HD+ devices were simultaneously revealed in the US and UK, and will soon debut in the UK. The product competes with Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, which is currently available to US consumers only.
Other Nook devices include the Simple Touch GlowLight, which competes with Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite in the US. Barnes & Noble is also offering its own UK digital bookstore, and plans to add a video service by early 2013.
The rollout amounts to Barnes & Noble's first major international expansion effort, and sees Fleishman target technology and consumer media in the UK.
The UK is currently experiencing a flood of new e-reader devices, from competitors such as Amazon, Kobo and Sony. Distribution deals are likely to play a critical role in product success, with each company tying up with different High Street chains.
Barnes & Noble will sell its devices through John Lewis, Sainsbury's and Blackwell's; it does not operate its own bookstores in the UK. The lack of a branded presence is likely to prove challenging for the company's UK aspirations, as will the usage of Apple's iPad as an e-reader.
“We are proud to be offering our highly-acclaimed range of Nook digital readers to the UK," said Mary Ellen Keating, SVP of corporate communications and public affairs at Barnes & Noble "We’ve enjoyed a successful partnership with Fleishman-Hillard in the US and we’re happy to be extended that relationship to London as we expand internationally.”