Out of nowhere, the largest retail bookseller in the United States went back to fighting arch-rival Amazon with a self-branded super-low-cost Android tablet just before Black Friday, despite reportedly putting the kibosh on the flagging Nook lineup.

All the pre-release secrecy led to this sneaking suspicion there was either something wrong with the $50 7-incher, or Barnes & Noble outsourced its production to a far less reliable partner than Samsung. It didn’t take long for Adups spyware scandals to further chip away at B&N’s hardware-making reputation, and now, the Nook Tablet 7 is gone from online and offline stores.

Believe it or not, the retail halt may have little to do with the controversial pre-installed software content from a potentially malevolent Chinese company. Barnes & Noble says it’s in the process of “investigating three reported cases involving the adapter sold with the Nook Tablet 7.”

Said power adapter has apparently had its casing break apart “while still in the socket”, not “affecting the Nook device itself”, but leading to an official warning for all users “out of an abundance of caution.”

You are to immediately stop using the adapter until a replacement is provided… sooner or later, and in the meantime, charge the Nook Tablet 7 by plugging it into a computer. B&N intends to “work closely with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to determine the details of a public product recall”, which sounds a tad extreme if this is the slate’s only problem.

Just forget about the brand already, or go for a Samsung Galaxy Tab Nook if you still can’t do that.

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