to become of Barnes & Noble? The “world’s largest bookstore” recently put
itself up for sale and is in a proxy battle against billionaire investor Ron
Burkle. The company has also struggled to match online retailer Amazon’s success in print and digital sales as well as e-readers.
the Aug. 30 issue of New York magazine, writer Andrew Rice profiles B&N
founder Len Riggio and looks at the company’s fight for relevance, with or
without Burkle. Here are some highlights from The Billionaire and the Book Lover:
numbers are down, and the company is valued at a third of what it was worth
four years ago. If it is to avoid the fates of Tower Records and Blockbuster,
it will have to figure out how to compete in a world where prices are falling
and nimble competitors like Amazon and Apple are offering in actuality what the
superstore bookseller used to promise only figuratively: immediate, cheap, and
of people think there’s nothing wrong with the old ink-and-paper technology. ‘Most
book buyers buy fewer than five print books a year,’ says Michael Norris, of
the market-research firm Simba Information. ‘They do not need a $100-plus
device to help them consume a $5 paperback.’ ”
Riggio knows where he wants Barnes & Noble to end up: in a world, perhaps
just over the horizon, where selling books is profitable, whether they are
physical or digital, sold in stores or online. The problem is no one in the
publishing industry quite knows how to get there, and at times Riggio has seemed
overwhelmed by the task.”
all the changes underway at Barnes & Noble, perhaps the most significant
may be Riggio’s decision to appoint William Lynch as CEO. ... ‘We’re morphing
into a retail and technology company,’ [says Lynch.] ‘We’re purveyors of
content, and I don’t think anybody at this company would say we sell physical
books. We do sell that, but that’s not how we define ourselves.’ ”
--Jeff Reich, editor
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re: Whither Barnes & Noble?
Wed, Aug 25 2010 12:27 PM
All I know is I would rather hold a book, with its colorful, intriguing cover and inviting blurb, than hold a colorless piece of electronic equipment. Turning the pages of a a book in anticipation of the machinations of unpredictable, destestible, or lovable characters and their often surprising actions, is one of the greatest pleasures in life. And, I can put a book on my bookshelf to read again in a few more years.
re: Whither Barnes & Noble?
Sat, Aug 28 2010 9:09 PM
Echo Demyna! And I know it sounds old fashioned, but I purchase more DVDs and CDs at B&N than anything. I like old movies and television shows. Most of those I own have come from B&N in store and on-line. And...It's a nice place to go hang out with the kids. We find it entertaining : )