Looking to increase the value of its Android-based Nook tablets, Barnes & Noble on Friday said it will offer a different paid app free of charge every Friday for Nook HD, Nook HD+, Nook Tablet, and Nook Color owners.
The promotion kicks off March 8 with a free download of OfficeSuite Professional 7 from MobiSystems. Office Pro 7 usually costs $15 at the Nook app store as well as on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore for Android.
Nook users are accustomed to getting freebies from the bookseller through Barnes & Noble's Free Fridays promotion. Until now, however, Barnes & Noble focused on offering free e-books. Now the company will offer one e-book and one app each week.
App giveaways are becoming a trend from major tablet makers. Barnes & Noble's freebies follow Amazon's daily paid app promotion, which began in 2011 when the online retailer introduced its Appstore for Android. Apple's App Store in 2012 also began offering a free app of the week every Thursday for iPhone and iPad users.
Barnes & Noble's new free app promotion may also be an attempt to attract new customers, or at least keep Nook fans from jumping ship to competitors such as Amazon, Apple, and Google. During its recent quarterly earnings report, Barnes & Noble said its Nook business saw a 26 percent decline compared to the same period in 2012. The company blamed most of the Nook downturn on poor device sales over the holiday period.
Before the bookseller reported its earnings, The New York Times noted that sluggish device sales were prompting B&N to consider scaling back its hardware business. It's not clear what a smaller Nook business might look like, but Barnes & Noble says it has no plans to stop making Nook devices.