Uh oh. Barnes & Noble is hinting it might sell the Nook brand. "Exploring options" is corporate speak for "give the gravediggers fancy new boots so it looks better when we die."


If this is the case, I'd be pretty bummed. I own a Nook, and enjoy that I can bring it into a Barnes & Noble for some freebies while my wife peruses the print products. Maybe that's what's killing its business, I don't know. Ever since they cut shelf space last year, Barnes & Noble seems to be getting ready to throw in the towel. Selling off the remaining profitable part of its business seems too stupid to be anything else.


What do you think?



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You mean they don't have thousands of freebies like Kindle does?  How strange.  Independent authors are uploading to Nook as they upload to Kindle.  I have a book on Pubit (for Nook) and really liked the appearance of the text.  Are they selling the gadget or also their publishing arm?

B&N's "exploring options" certainly could mean exactly what you think it means, Ben, and that would have a huge impact on the publishing industry, and authors in general. But it could also mean that B&N wants to simply sell Books and Nooks rather than investing huge amounts of capital into developing the products and platform.

I read the press release much differently. I thought B&N was saying the Nook is doing so well, they may "spin it off" as a separate company, leveraging the value they see in eBooks. Current B&N shareholders would benefit. No clue about authors, and really, who cares about us?

that was my interpretation, too, Jack.  Who wants to tie an anchor around the one vessel that seems to be making progress?  The Nook owners I know are very pleased with the technology. 

Spinning it off as a separate company may be one of the "options," but I read it as "who wants to buy the Nook?" I'm having flashbacks to when I worked for Sears and it "explored" options for its financing business, which resulted in it selling to someone else. Of course, I don't think B&N would ever merge with Kmart, but you get the picture.

Good point, Benjamin.

I think B&N would rather sell stores than Nook. 

:)  I think that's right, Jack.

I have to disagree...to an extent.

There was an interesting analysis on Wall Street Journal TV. It essentially stated that the little bookstores (Waldenbooks) are gone, the indies are barely hanging in there, and Borders is out of the way.  It also said that major cities will continue to have a bookstore. B&N feels they are positioned to be that bookstore, and admittedly will have further streamlining to do, but the brick and mortar version will survive.

Anecdotally, there are two here in Nashville and they are always busy.

It also admitted that Nook will become more dominant than the stores, and went on to discuss whether B&N Nook should focus on tech development or selling ebooks.

I think we agree completely, Clay: Sell some stores, keep Nook.

I read NY times article that said, more or less, that B&N is looking to bring new investors into the Nook business, which is costing them big bucks. $200 million to $250 million annually. And B&N revised its earnings forecast downward for 2012, expecting losses of $1.10 to $1.40 per share. Needless to say, their stock plummeted on this announcement. total sales associated w/Nook were up 43 percent. Store sales rose 2.5 percent.

These numbers are quotes from the article, published I believe Sunday, Jan 8.   So my conclusion is that they're not going to sell off the Nook side of the business, they're just looking for new investors (read $$)

I wish they'd just come out and say what they mean. This why the business section of our newspaper is so thin. The story is between the lines.


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