Such cuts are usually a sign that a product is not selling well, or a new version of said product is on the way. In the Nook’s case, both scenarios may be true: Sales of ereaders and content have declined over the past two quarters, and both devices have been available on the UK market for nearly a year. But Jim Hilt, managing director of Barnes & Noble’s digital reading division, insists the changes are all positive, and that the price reductions are part of a bigger, more aggressive strategy to capture entry-level digital readers in the UK. Essentially, B&N is willing to take a deeper cut on hardware sales now for a longer-term gain in ebook sales, and ultimately a greater share of the UK ereading market. SEE ALSO: Barnes & Noble: When Great Isnt Good Enough “A number of people in the UK haven’t made the transition [to digital reading devices],” Hilt said in a phone interview with Mashable earlier this week. “There’s a perception that they’re priced too highly, or the quality of product hasn’t been sufficient.” Cutting the price of the Nook Simple Touch to 29 pounds in late April certainly helped move it off the shelves. Matthew Cashmore, the digital director of Blackwell’s, told Forbes that since the price reduction, the bookseller is struggling to keep the Nook Simple Touch in stock, and that ebook sales have gone “through the roof.” Cashmore added that the Nook has struggled to penetrate the UK market to date because it entered the market late, and has fewer retail partners than other manufacturers. “The price drop and the sale via many retailers has essentially brought the reader to the broader market.” By offering the Simple Touch at such a low price point, Hilt said the Nook was able to pick up UK customers who hadn’t yet made the transition to ereaders. It’s a hook-them-and-keep-them strategy: Hilt added that the company has a “strong ability” to keep first-time customers in the Nook family once they’ve purchased a device. However, he declined to say how much B&N is losing on each ereader sale. Whether the 49-pound price tag will have the same shelf-moving effect on the GlowLight ereader remains to be seen. Thomas Husson, vice-president and principal analyst at Forrester, noted that the price reduction makes the GlowLight the only ereader with an integrated light in the UK market that has a price below 50 pounds.
UK finance minister to court voters with tough welfare rules
The court recommended extradition of accused Mohammad Abdul Shakur after he voluntarily consented to face trial in the case. Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Sudesh Kumar referred to the extradition treaty between India and the UK and said the offences made against Shakur were “extraditable”. The order came after the Centre, through advocate Naveen Kumar Matta, forwarded UK’s request seeking extradition of Shakur. Matta told court that Shakur was wanted in the UK after he had murdered his wife Juli Begum and two daughters in January 2007 and fled. The court, in its order, referred to the statement given by UK’s metropolitan police detective sergeant John Simm before the district judge in Westminster . in which he had related the entire sequence of events which led to death of the woman and her two daughters. Simm stated that Shakur had married Juli in Bangladesh after which his wife had returned to the UK. After a few months, the fugitive also followed her and she sponsored his entry in that country. In 2002, Juli had called the police because of Shakur’s behaviour. Simm had said Shakur wanted Juli to help him in becoming a permanent resident of the UK. Juli’s sister came to see her on January 9, 2007, but found the house locked.
Delhi court wants Bangladeshi man extradited to UK
House prices rose 0.5 percent from August, the biggest increase since May 2007, Hometrack said. Prices were up 2.4 percent from the same month last year, the biggest annual increase since December 2007. British house prices have picked up over the past 12 months, and some are concerned about an unsustainable price boom. But Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, played down these fears. “Prices are rising off a low base and talk of a housing bubble in relation to the national market is overdone,” he said. “We are seeing continued house price growth in London combining with modest gains across other regions and creating a picture of a broadening market recovery,” he added. Hometrack said it expected prices to continue to rise in the short term but cautioned that the market remained very sensitive to changes in demand and especially changing expectations over the outlook for mortgage rates. Separate data from lender Nationwide released on Friday showed that British house prices shot up at their fastest annual pace in more than three years in September. House prices have been aided by government schemes to lower banks’ borrowing costs and help home-buyers struggling to find large deposits. The latter scheme is set for expansion at the start of 2014. Britain’s finance minister George Osborne said on Thursday that he wanted the Bank of England to keep a closer eye on whether the scheme might stoke a bubble. BoE Governor Mark Carney reiterated his view in an interview published on Friday that the market was seeing a turnaround but that levels of activity remained only around two-thirds of their longer-term averages for the sector. Hometrack said an improving market was bringing more supply to the market outside southern England and keeping price rises in check. London and the southeast, however, had seen less growth in supply and hence greater price rises, it said.
Speaking to Conservative Party activists at the penultimate conference before the election, Osborne will argue that though Britain’s $2.5 trillion economy is recovering and he is optimistic about the global economy there can be no complacency. “We can make the recovery a lasting one. But it won’t happen by itself – many risks remain. We have to deal with our debts and see our plan through. If the recovery is sustained then families will start to feel better off.” Osborne’s pitch is designed to counter the opposition Labour Party’s charge that Prime Minister David Cameron has presided over a cost of living crisis, and is designed to appeal to working Britons who, according to polls, feel the country’s annual 200 billion pound ($320.7 billion) welfare system is too generous. He will say he wants to end what he will call “a something for nothing” culture by obliging Britain’s 200,000 long-term unemployed to undertake certain activities or face losing a portion of their welfare handout. The move, unveiled along with the slogan “For Hardworking People,’ is likely to resurrect a long-running political row that critics say engenders divisive politics. Casting the Conservatives as the party of lower taxes, cheaper mortgages and economic prudence, Osborne, who has staked his reputation on reducing the largest peacetime budget deficit left by the 1997-2010 Labour governments, will warn that higher living standards will not be instantly improved. “Family finances will not be transformed overnight,” Osborne will say according to remarks released by his office ahead of time. “What I offer is an economic plan for hardworking people. That will create jobs. Keep mortgage rates low. Let people keep more of their income tax-free.” While a recent poll shows Ed Miliband’s Labour Party leads the Conservatives by 11 percentage points overall, voters still consider Cameron the politician they trust with Britain’s economy, the world’s sixth largest.