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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Barnes & Noble Merry-Go-Round

I had lots of post topics for this week, but Monday's late afternoon news blew everything else away. Two weeks after Barnes & Noble stated they were withdrawing from the tablet business and less than a week after they announced the imminent closing of Pubit!, their self-publishing initiative (don't worry, it's being replaced by Nook Press), B&N's CEO William Lynch resigned.

Since the resignation was effective immediately, the consensus among various pundits is that Lynch was asked to leave after the corporation's losses doubled last quarter from the quarter before. There's a lot of speculation of what happens next. The fact that the CFO Michael Huseby was named the CEO of Nook Media, LLC, and president of Barnes & Noble is cause for concern. Based on my past experience, bean counters as boss usually spells disaster for a company.

Was Len Riggio, B&N's chairman and main shareholder, serious about taking the company private last spring? He filed paperwork with the SEC to that effect, but nothing has been done in that regard (at least, not publicly). Will Riggio take B&N private in an attempt to save it? Was he only looking to prop up the falling stock price? Is he and the board planning to sell off the Nook division, or are they now planning to let it die quietly?

As for how everything will affect publishers, both trad and indie, losing a large retailer will be rough, but survivable. Still, I would hate to see Barnes & Noble disappear into the sunset like so many other book stores.

4 comments:

  1. The majority of my book sales are on Nook Press. I hope they don't disappear either. Interesting blog. Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Mine, too, Savannah. In fact, my B&N sales have been 5-to-1 against Amazon for the last 18 months. I don't know what's going to happen in the long run though.

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  2. Yeah, I don't want to see them disappear into the sunset, either. Though I still miss Borders (best cafe, we had), I have come to enjoy Barnes.

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  3. I don't think they can right the ship at this point, Whisk. Que sera, sera.

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