Nook flop weakens Barnes & Noble sales Barnes & Noble posted a decline in retail sales in the holiday season as the largest U.S. bookstore chain's efforts to take on Apple's iPad with tablet-style Nooks fell flat with shoppers. The retailer released two new versions of the Nook tablet for the holidays, around the same time Apple introduced its iPad mini, designed to keep customers from buying low-cost tablets from competitors. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have increased access to content beyond digital books and touted specifications such as screen resolution and processing speed as selling points to expand their customer base beyond readers. "Nook device sales got off to a good start over the Black Friday period, but then fell short of expectations for the balance of the holiday," William Lynch, chief executive officer, said in the statement. The retailer has been investing in the Nook at the expense of profits to gain a piece of the growing market for digital books.