During 2009 to late 2010, Barnes and Noble invested heavily in its online ecosystem. Its relationships with Major Publishers through its bookstore business ensured that B&N could gain access to their digital wares and more books were added to its online portfolio. B&N quickly attained over one million titles in the first year and captured 20% of the entire ebook market.
Barnes and Noble managed to pull off a coup and scored the patents and licensing as well as an exclusive licensing agreement from Spring Design. This ensured that B&N’s e-reader and ebook selling ambitions were all but cemented. During the time that all the lawsuits were going on, Barnes and Noble (on June 21, 2010) released the Nook WIFI model, which did away with the costly 3G edition.
Eight weeks before Christmas in 2010, Barnes and Noble shook up its hardware portfolio and introduced the . This went on to sell millions of units in the months leading up to the holidays and sold 1 million ebooks on Christmas Day alone. They were the first big company to produce a six inch full color Android Tablet that had its own customized user-interface. It was billed as an e-reader instead of a tablet and provided a very unique product in a market dominated by Vanilla Android experiences.
When Barnes and Noble first thought about doing an e-reader in 2008, it started negotiations with . Spring Design was prototyping and getting the necessary patents for a dual-screen e-reader. The two sides were in the early stages of negotiations when B&N decided to cease inquires on licensing the technology and went its own separate way. When both devices were launched in the same quarter, they basically looked the same and Spring Design sued them. The case went on for about a year before it was resolved in March 2011. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Spring Design will grant Barnes & Noble a non-exclusive, paid-up royalty free license for the entire portfolio of Spring Design patents and patent applications. The terms of the settlement are otherwise confidential. The settlement agreement announced resolves all claims brought by Spring Design, which will be dismissed.