Barnes and Noble didn't renew leases for several stores at the end of 2011. While many folks panic over the news, B&N's decision makes sense, especially in areas were the real estate prices are excessive like the Georgetown store in D.C. B&N needs to diversify and cut some overhead in order to compete with Amazon.
In the meantime, the B&N board is also examining the possibility of spinning the Nook division into its own company. Again, panic has insued in investors, but separating the e-device/book part of the business from the rest of the retail giant gives the Nook side a fighting chance, instead of getting dragged under by the rest of the company. The move would also allow B&N to obtain capital through loans and/or additional investors to improve the software of the web interface. The lack of ease in the search and recommendation capabilities of B&N's website has been a major complaint with consumers.
And if your NYT subscription is about to expire, sign up for the e-version and get a Nook SImple Touch for free.
On the other side of the pasture, Amazon has responded to their customers' complaints and added a page count feature for their e-books so you know whether you're buying a short story or a novel. About frickin' time!
Things have been relatively quiet as folks recover from the December holiday crazies, but there should be some interesting things coming out of the Digital Book Conference in a few weeks.
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