Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Barnes & Noble may sell itself; a testimonial to the fact that even the chain book stores face challenges; any effect online?

Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest bookstore chain, is considering selling itself, possibly to Leonard Riggio, which might take the company private. The story broke Tuesday on the New York Times blog here  and continued Wednesday August 3 with a “Business Day” story by Julie Bosman (linked above).

The deal marks the latest chapter in the difficulties faced by traditional bricks-and-mortar print media, like newspapers. Independent book stores have trouble competing with chains (the gay “Lambda Rising” closed at the end of 2009), and the chains have trouble competing with Wal-Mart at Costco’ but most of all, they have trouble competing with their own on-line sales websites as well as Amazon. BN.com is also a major bookselling website (as is Booksamillion and Powells).

It’s not clear if an acquisition would have any affect on the web business, affiliated with iUniverse, a cooperative and self-publishing “print on demand” book publisher. But most “print on demand” books are sold online rather than in stores, and the POL business model has been integrating itself with the eBook business lately.

Amazon had recently announced that it’s eBook (and Kindle) sales were outperforming regular books.

There is also evidence that people – especially young people – are simply reading less. Sad!

Barnes & Noble stores try to increase business with discount membership “green cards”.

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