suraj.sun sends in word that the country's largest bookstore chain, Barnes and Noble, will put itself up for sale. "The news surprised analysts and alarmed publishers, who have watched as the book business has increasingly shifted to online retailers and e-book sales, leaving both chains and independent sellers struggling. ... For years, Barnes & Noble has been battered by large shifts in the publishing industry and the retail environment. Book sales have moved toward big-box stores like Costco, Wal-Mart and Target, and away from mall-based stores like B. Dalton, which Barnes & Noble acquired in the late 1980s. 'There's been a long series of pressures,' said David Schick, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore. 'The market has not been kind to bookstores, and it's for new reasons like competition with Apple and Amazon, and it's for old reasons, like what we believe has been a decline in reading for the last 20 years. Americans have devoted less of what we call media time to books.'"