I wonder when most people will realise that B&N is literally killing itself to boost the ebook business. It’s a sensible decision and I’m sure the physical division will persist in a much reduced form for some time to come, but for all of that, B&N is killing itself to survive.
“Barnes & Noble is just a better-run bookstore. They have better locations, their stores are brighter and it’s better stocked,” says Bill Kavaler, a senior analyst at brokerage firm Oscar Gruss & Son. “And while there’s some discomfort with Barnes & Noble’s management, you can’t say they’re not trying to run a good book chain.”
But the question is how long Barnes & Noble can stay ahead of the gradual shift from print to digital. Barnes & Noble still has 705 bookstores in the U.S., and those locations are less profitable than they used to be, though that drop seems to be slowing. Worse, its online operation continues to lose money. Overall, Barnes & Noble’s profits in its most recent quarter, which ended in January, fell 25% from a year earlier to $60.6 million. In order to stem the losses, Barnes & Noble’s executives decided recently to stop paying stockholders a dividend and invest the money in its online and e-books division to boost growth.