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Barnes & Noble Founder Wants to Take Retail Division Private 131

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the that's-one-way-to-die dept.
The times haven't been the kindest to B&N: retail sales are down and the Kindle is outselling the Nook. Joining Best Buy and Dell, B&N might be going private. From the article: "Barnes & Noble’s largest shareholder, Leonard Riggio, made an offer Monday to buy out the struggling company and take it private ... Essentially, it would split the company in two: one half would be Riggio’s private brick-and-mortar stores and related assets, the other the publicly-traded Nook and college bookstore management division."
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Barnes & Noble Founder Wants to Take Retail Division Private

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  • by oztiks (921504) on Monday February 25, 2013 @09:15PM (#43010435)

    Public companies are getting abused on the stock market so bad being private means they can actually run the business properly without having to worry about squeezing to make every Q more profitable according to analyst projections and "expected" profits.

    Apple should do the same but having 1bn outstanding shares at $400 a piece means even their whopping $130bn in the bank wont even save them from the onslaught.

    • by peragrin (659227) on Monday February 25, 2013 @09:29PM (#43010541)

      The trick is wall street MBA and EMBA's are basically stripping companies bare destroying assets for short term goals, and personal profits.

      Take Circuit city. The MBA's backed by wall street stripped the company to the bones, stole all the cash and pushed it into bankruptcy.

      After a bad year(2008) and falling stock prices circuit city management came up with a plan to cut expenses by $10,000,000 over the next 3 years. They fired the top 3,000 salesmen and hired 2,500 fresh salesmen in the summer of 2009. Wall street bounced the stock back up, and management paid themselves $5,000,000 in bonuses for that year.

      2009 ended with predicitably even lower sales.(firing your best salesmen does things like that).

      6 months later it was completely gone.

      Wall street supports and and encourages self destructive behavior. Wall street isn't about long term investing any more. It is about millisecond long trades taking up 75% of all trading volume.

      Seriously if wall street cut HFT for one day the volume would collapse.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by clarkkent09 (1104833)

        That only happens with companies that are failing anyway. Its in nobody's interest to destroy a thriving business, or at least one that is worth more alive than dead. What people fail to understand (hence Obama's ads about Romney at Bain) is that capitalism is as much about failure and loss as it is about success and profit, and that's a good thing.

        • by oztiks (921504)

          Its in nobody's interest to destroy a thriving business, or at least one that is worth more alive than dead

          You've just explained where bubbles come from and the parent just explained what happens when a business' growth stabilizes and how those bubbles burst. It's a recipe for disaster either way you look at it.

          As I've always said "you cant push hot molasses up hill" though the market wishes it can and on the flip side you then have the short sells who profit from that so it's kobayashi maru for the company caught in the rift.

          • by Mashiki (184564)

            You've just explained where bubbles come from and the parent just explained what happens when a business' growth stabilizes and how those bubbles burst. It's a recipe for disaster either way you look at it.

            Well it doesn't help when the feds are pumping the market to make it look so happy and rosy either does it? If the feds weren't correcting, the market wouldn't be as bullish.

          • by dywolf (2673597)

            as broken as the mod system is...mod up just for the Star Trek reference. its so applicable to this stuff.
            two paths both make money, and both get you in trouble. either you plan long term and piss off the investors who have come to expect short term gains and have been trained to ignore long term, so they eventually fire you....or you make short term gains and run the company into the ground. no matter what, you lose.

            • Not quite.

              ..or you make short term gains and run the company into the ground. no matter what, you lose.

              That's hardly considered "losing" among executive management.

        • I wish that were true, but I remember reading recently that the founder of Costco has been heavily resisting any urges to follow his competitors and slash staff salaries (my god, Costco employees are all paid a living wage, the horror!) and benefits (they all have comprehensive health insurance, the horror!), raise his maximum profit margins on goods (charging more means more money... until the customers leave!), and generally all the other stuff that destroys companies. HE's being urged to do this by Wall
          • by Lifyre (960576)

            Not everyone running the company has enough power to do this unfortunately and many that would try would be removed by the board.

          • by DavidTC (10147)

            That's because Costco pays fucking dividends so people who own the stock make a share of the profits.

            Ah, investing money in a company to make a cut of the actual profits of the company, an insanely novel idea of corporate ownership that might just catch on one of these days. (It is the 1300s, right? I think my computer's clock is wrong.)

            • As a rule of thumb, successful companies either pay a dividend or grow rapidly, not both. Young companies reason that the best use of their money is to expand their business, as the growth should increase the value of the company more than a dividend would help the shareholders. When the company can no longer figure out ways to grow and has paid off all its debt and has a sufficient supply of cash to weather downturns and disasters, there's no place for the money to go but dividends. This is entirely reason
          • by slew (2918)

            FYI, The founder of Costco (Jim Sinegal) retired as CEO in January 2012. Although he remains on the board of directors, the reigns have been passed to another insider Craig Jelinek...

            Lest you think Costco is all about bucking Wall Street, you should know that they borrowed (yes borrowed) $3.5Billion (with a 'B') to pay out a special dividend to shareholders ahead of the tax increase that is scheduled to take place this year. This typical short term Wall Street manuever no doubt just transfered almost a bi

            • by dywolf (2673597)

              unless they borrowed it from the treasury, tax payers dont pay for it.
              plus there's that whole thing about having to pay back whatever you borrow.

              • by slew (2918)

                unless they borrowed it from the treasury, tax payers dont pay for it.
                plus there's that whole thing about having to pay back whatever you borrow.

                Since this manuver reduces the effective tax rate of the gross earnings***, the net result is that the US treasury gets less tax revenue for the same amount of gross earnings. Since the US government doesn't seem to be able to reduce spending, it must borrow more money than if it had gotten the tax revenues which costs the US tax payers.

                Net result: US tax payers pay for the tax reduction received by the Costco shareholders.

                *** basically, by borrowing the money (at a currently very low interest rate), Costc

          • He's retired recently, and the company has already started down the orthodox path. Managers who believed in Sinegal's philosophy will resist for awhile, but they'll be pushed aside by those who thrive under Wall Street rules. Give it three years and they'll will be indistinguishable from Walmart.

        • Its in nobody's interest to destroy a thriving business

          It is very much in the interest of securities litigation attorneys to destroy a thriving business. Avoiding shareholder class action lawsuits (where the shareholders sue themselves with the lawyers getting a cut) is a major reason for public companies to go private.

        • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday February 25, 2013 @11:47PM (#43011307) Journal

          That only happens with companies that are failing anyway. Its in nobody's interest to destroy a thriving business, or at least one that is worth more alive than dead.

          [Citation Needed]
          More importantly, you are making assumptions about what is and isn't rational behavior from your perspective.

          From the perspective of a corporate raider:
          Mortgaging a healthy company to the hilt and then selling off its assets is wildly profitable.
          They don't want to run the company and earn a respectable return on investment.
          They are not in it for long term profits.
          They want X00% return on investment within a few years and they can get it.

          Different motives and different agendas leads to different 'rational' behaviors.
          Hence regulation to reign in the more destructive, yet completely rational, actors.
          There was even a /. story today which showed us that 'rational' behavior is not a universal constant [slashdot.org]

          • by metlin (258108)

            Look up Joseph Schumpeter and his take on "Creative Destruction". His book "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy" talks about just that.

        • by femtobyte (710429) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @12:24AM (#43011533)

          The catch is "worth more alive than dead" --- the investment class making the decisions only cares about the fraction of worth *to them,* not to the economy and all stakeholders as a whole. Thus a company that is doing perfectly well --- able to maintain high employee pay, solid pensions and benefits, and still turn a profit for the investors --- will get killed if it will funnel more money into the pockets of the rich (even if the total economic value to everyone is lost).

          For example: if a currently profitable company has a big pension fund saved up to pay out to retirees, corporate raiders will load the company up with debt, funneling all its money to "contractors" and "consultants" until they are "forced" to dip into the pension funds to keep the company afloat. When all the assets are gone, tell the workers and retirees "sorry, we're bankrupt!" before cruising away on your new yacht.

          Killing thriving companies is also useful for breaking unions --- one profitable, strongly unionized corporation in an industry will drive up wages and benefits even for non-union competitors (by competing for skilled workers). Thus, the investing class will want to drive the unionized company into the ground --- at least long enough to win major concessions, if not outright dissolution, from the workers. Then it's profit for everyone else at the top.

          Killing off a thriving corporation may also be cheaper/easier than integrating it through merger/acquisition when a bigger corporation wants to buy off a competitor to assume a more solid monopoly position.

          In all these cases, "worth" to the economy as a whole is destroyed if all stakeholders are counted (especially employees and customers) --- but so long as more money ends up in the pockets of the super-rich, it's a "win" for the decision-makers.

          • For example: if a currently profitable company has a big pension fund saved up to pay out to retirees, corporate raiders will load the company up with debt, funneling all its money to "contractors" and "consultants" until they are "forced" to dip into the pension funds to keep the company afloat. When all the assets are gone, tell the workers and retirees "sorry, we're bankrupt!" before cruising away on your new yacht.

            It is appropriate to treat this as criminal conduct. In a rational implementation of the Bill of Rights, the protection of money in a retirement fund should fall naturally under the 9th Amendment as a right retained by the people. Thus any form of plundering should be actionable as a matter of violating fundamental rights, superseding federal law when that law would otherwise permit plundering.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          That only happens with companies that are failing anyway. Its in nobody's interest to destroy a thriving business, or at least one that is worth more alive than dead.

          It happens to everyone. Wall Street hedge fund managers feel that they're immune to things like the economy - they want their 8/10/15+% ROI damn the recession. Hell, at a time when most people would be just happy to have their investments be stable (as opposed to disappear), they still want their share of the blood.

          Hell, Einhorn is trying to " [arstechnica.com]

        • by Anonymous Coward

          "...only happens with companies that are failing anyway. Its in nobody's interest to destroy a thriving business, or at least one that is worth more alive than dead."

          read this sorry story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mervyns [wikipedia.org]

          ### excerpt from the wikipedia article referenced above ####

          Mervyns:

          By 1978 the company had grown to a chain of more than 50 stores in three states,[8] and Mervyn's was acquired by the Dayton Hudson Corporation (now Target Corporation). Mervyn's kept its separate identity as a

        • What people fail to understand (hence Obama's ads about Romney at Bain) is that capitalism is as much about failure and loss as it is about success and profit, and that's a good thing.

          I don't know what capitalism is "about," but are you really going to try to argue this in an age when truly parasitic zombie banks are declared "too big too fail" and are kept alive by a flood of public money, even as they destroy everything else through leverage buyouts, bubbles and the other tools of the finance Visigoths?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It happens to every company.

          Company's interests as they are

          Shareholders
          Board of Directors
          Senior Management
          Customers
          Angry bums on the street
          Employees

          Company's interests as they should be

          Customers
          Employees

          The rest will be taken care of by focusing on those 2 items.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Its in nobody's interest to destroy a thriving business

          Are you deliberately ignorant, or just naive?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by trout007 (975317)

        What else are you supposed to do with those Trillions of dollars the Fed loaned you at zero interest?

      • Horse shit. It's not just "MBA"s and such making these decisions. It's everybody. Every Joe Blow who buys a stock or a mutual fund is interested in one thing: return. Let's not pretend that average people investing for their retirement are interested in making less money for the sake of, say, treating employees well or making ethical business decisions. The problem is the whole system of public companies in the US. Corporations have all of the rights of actual people, with none of the liabilities, and
        • I used to be an investor (before I met a girl) it was important to me as a small investor that companies I invested in focused on the big picture, and I would ruthlessly dump stocks that I thought weren't in it for the long term.

          See, it's the big guys,and only the big guys, who profit from juiced stocks... everybody else involved gets totally screwed, and that includes the small investors and the people with 401ks.

          If you enjoy getting screwed, by all means try to play in the big boys pool, but you'd be bett

        • by Legion303 (97901)

          " It's not just "MBA"s and such making these decisions. It's everybody. Every Joe Blow who buys a stock or a mutual fund is interested in one thing: return."

          Joe "I have one share" Blow gets to make strategic business decisions now? Huh.

          • by DogDude (805747)
            Joe "I have one share" Blow gets to make strategic business decisions now? Huh.

            By purchasing that one share, Joe Blow becomes an owner of the company. Literally. To bring it to it's logical conclusion, is it moral for Joe Blow to buy one share of Al Qaeda, Inc?
      • by Svartalf (2997)

        It happens because it works. If you put things back a bit more like they were shortly after the Great Depression was over with and make it more profitable (because of tax code changes it's not...) to dole out dividends and the like, such that it's less profitable to strip mine a company that's publicly traded, then you'd see a lot less of this.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)

      Yes. See Valve as an example of a company which has never had to bow to idiotic stock market investors, allowing them to make actually sound business decisions. Now every publicly traded gaming company, bar maybe Activision, wants to be in their shoes.

      • by alen (225700)

        valve is a tiny company operating in a niche market

        but even they are looking to branch out into consoles and they have dealings with Sony for the playstation because tech changes and their business could be wiped out

        there are not enough people buying physical books to pay the overhead

        • But they're manuevering themselves into a potentially pivotal company in the online market. EA is selling games through them. Zenimax is selling games through them. I'm sure there are other publishers people who can find who are as well. And that's before including the independents, their 'console' plans, and the shift towards everybody having a steam account as one of their 'new' social networking accounts.

          And I say all of this as someone on the outside of steam as well as all the current DRM encumbered ga

        • by Hadlock (143607)

          They're a billion dollar distribution company, the largest distribution company in a market larger than, and growing faster than the motion picture market. With a near monopoly on the PC market, and expanding in to the console market.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CncRobot (2849261)

      Close. Its the SOX rules, amongst others, that are killing a lot of public companies. Where I work we had public bonds before SOX became law and after that the quickest we could we got rid of them so we don't have to follow those rules.

      Of course after the story of MF Global and Corzine, I'm not sure why they bothered to pass SOX if they won't enforce the law in a textbook example of someone breaking it.

      • They'll enforce SOX against you if you don't have political connections.

        There's a reason my company had a former US president to speak at one of their recent shindigs, and it wasn't because they wanted to hear the man speak (even though he often comes out with unintentional comedy... he's the master of the spoonerism...)

    • But Apple doesn't give a shit about the stock market. It's why they have such a ridiculously low p/e in spite of how successful they are. It's the market's way of saying "You're a bad...Apple!!" It's one of the things I give kudos to Apple for...telling the fuckers on Wall Street to go fuck themselves.

      • by oztiks (921504)

        Yes and no (maybe?), yes Apple doesn't give a shit but it most certainly does not walk away from Wall St unscathed. The problem with AAPL (if you can call it a problem) is the amount of money it has ...

        AAPL has $130bn in the bank but it also has 1billion outstanding shares. So you do the math, if AAPL was to "buy" back it's shares the company could only afford $130 for each share (which are currently valued at $442).

        So, you have shit like this going on at the moment with AAPL

        http://www.technologyspectator.c [technology...tor.com.au]

        • But the alternate side is that the $130 Billion isn't Tim Cook's money., its stockholder's money. Apple did just fine for most of a decade on a mere 30-40 billion in cash. There is no "reasonable" way Apple can spend that much money. They would have to go YEARS without sales, or go on a crazy spree and buy Microsoft or Sony... Or some other small failing company, they'd have too much change from Yahoo... Apple shouldn't have that much cash because it makes them too easy for lawyers to shake down, or the g

          • by oztiks (921504)

            Small dispersions of money to shareholders shouldn't be an issue, though I'm sure AAPL does the dividend thing, more so it's the buy back of the shares which is what they are pitching and if your key asset is money you might have a problem. I.E you have $175bn in assets and $130bn of that is greenback. Lets look at loose figures here ... (no means perfect mind you)

            You have an annual revenue of $150bn and an asset base of $175bn the market cap is supposed to define the companies total worth stock volume x st

            • The share price is inflated. Making the comparison of Apple to Exxon was a valid point, but it also shows Apple is sitting on WAY too much cash.

              First, if Apple is sitting on a full year's income, they have more cash than any BANK would consider reasonable... Without making any products, they should be making 10% interest on the CASH... Which is nearly a quarter of profits.

              Apple is a tiny company compared to Exxon. The majority of their employees are retail or support. Apple does comparatively little "blue s

              • by oztiks (921504)

                A better analogy is that Apple's parents paid for them to to grow up and go to fancy college... Now the parents want Apple's spare money to set up another kid to do cool things. Apple is as PRODUCTIVE as they are ever going to get... Time for them to pay off mom n dad so some little sibs get a chance.

                I like this explanation but to insinuate investors being responsible parents is my qualm. We are talking about the same types of people that pit their hopes and dreams on FaceBook being the next big thing right?

                As AAPL though because AAPL has to look out for AAPL (not anybody else) they need to deflate without causing a bubble burst that loses investor confidence because if you have that it creates a bad situation for the tech industry in general.

                If I were AAPL I would do what you propose but I wouldn't do

    • I agree Dell is going private and I think in time we will see others go private. The companies are better ran when they are private and do not have to report there earnings which makes company revenue ideas secret giving privately run company the upper hand. Plus with private companies PR is better companies like Spotify do not get the bad press Pandora does because again they do not report the earning.
  • Find suckers to help you buy failing business model
    Borrow cash and pay yourself dividends
    ?
    Profit

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday February 25, 2013 @09:21PM (#43010491)

    It seems like the trend to buy and sell everyone online continues to gain steam. Many stores from Blockbuster to Best Buy, from computer resellers to water purification systems... it seems like if you can get away with not having to touch or interact with the product in person before making a buying decision, that's what people are doing. In droves. One of the few retail areas not significantly affected has been women's clothing. Men, being of somewhat more predictable shapes and sizes, can buy jeans and such online, but women have no such luck. Even here, however, basics like bras, tank tops, t-shirts, shoes, etc., are being displaced by online sales.

    It does not surprise me that books are on the list of things people don't need to go to a bookstore to purchase -- most books are purchased based on the recommendation of friends, word of mouth, or reviewers (which, surprise -- print media is giving way to online media...). This is not a good time to be a retail book seller... Barnes and Noble will soon be displaced by Walmart and their ilk; Stores that only sell books won't be around for much longer if they're publicly traded... they'll just be broken up and sold off piece by piece, their valuable commercial real estate being repurposed and the stock thrown out in massive going out of business sales, or simply deposited in a dumpster.

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      This is not a good time to be a retail book seller... Barnes and Noble will soon be displaced by Walmart and their ilk; Stores that only sell books won't be around for much longer if they're publicly traded...

      And yet, B&N closed their online store (Fictionwise), which was the one of the few places with DRM-free multiformat offerings.

      • by DavidTC (10147)

        Um, no. B&N's online store is the Nook store. It's right there in the article.

        Fictionwise's purchase by B&N was just part of the roll-out of the Nook so they'd have titles and licensing agreements in place. And they didn't 'close' Fictionwise as much as 'merge it into the Nook store'.

    • it seems like if you can get away with not having to touch or interact with the product in person before making a buying decision, that's what people are doing.

      So true. If it's not possible already, you could hire a (physical) storage space online. Then buy goods online, and have them delivered to that storage space. So you're never bothered by all that junk you bought cluttering up your house.

      One day, you may loose the need to ever visit that storage space, or use the junk that's stacked up there. So why not buy virtual goods then, so you can save on shipping & storage? And not have the bother of getting rid of that stuff... And when all the goods are virt

    • by NevarMore (248971)

      , basics like bras,

      You know nothing about womens undergarments and how complicated they are to fit and take off do you?

      • by DavidTC (10147)

        Hell, he doesn't appear to know anything about men's clothing, either. Who the hell buys jeans without trying them on? Men's pants' sizes are _less_ fucked up than women's (Which, from what I hear, are completely random from brand to brand.), but it doesn't mean jeans can be bought sight unseen, unless you've tried that exact size in the same brand.

        Socks, yes. Underwear, yes. (In fact, you have to as you can't try those one.) Shirts, yes. Pants and shoes? Uh, no.

    • by trout007 (975317)

      Last time I was in B&N I saw a whole aisle marked "Teen Paranormal Romance". I pretty much knew it was over.

      • by DavidTC (10147)

        By 'it', do you mean Barnes and Noble? In which case I would suggest you're exactly backwards. If there actually I a genre that is selling, that's great for B&N.

        If by 'it' you mean 'society', then yes. Yes it is.

        I am the last person to judge people for the sort of fiction they enjoy. Especially fantasy. (I was a flipping Buffy fan. And a Harry Potter fan.)

        But, honest to God, half those books are total crap. That genre is the...the...the new 1920 pulp sci-fi. Except with more sexism and crappier chara

        • They carved this out of the ever decreasing Sci-Fi / Fantasy section. I tolerate the mixing of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but this shit is unacceptable.
      • by TheLink (130905)
        It's porn for girls. Porn sells.
      • by EmagGeek (574360)

        They should just call it the "Vampires and Intense FEELINGS" category. Or maybe "Angsty Confused Female Surrounded by Scary Man-Critters."

    • Everyone is broke, which turns everyone into a bargain hunter which means that stores that aren't designed to do bargains (but have other goals like convenience or quality) are priced out of the market.

      It's part of the Western readjustment, as we move into a new dark age of low compensation and diminished expectations. [michael-hudson.com]

      On the plus side, things might improve when we are finally conquered by the East. (Probably not though.)

    • Walmart only stocks best-sellers; a typical Walmart has only a few hundred titles. Walmart and Target, etc. are not the future of books. Wide selection brick and mortar bookstores are tied to the future of paper books, whatever that may be.
  • Is this really news for nerds or stuff that matters?

    Sure we all read books but why is this interesting?

    • by timeOday (582209) on Monday February 25, 2013 @09:45PM (#43010629)
      B&N is a company that valiantly strived to make the transition from bricks-and-mortar to the Internet, just as we are constantly chiding outmoded companies like Kodak for failing to do (or the RIAA for actively fighting, when it comes to music). By releasing the Nook line of e-readers, B&N took a leap into leading the transition of print publication away from paper. I for one bought a Nook for my daughter a couple years ago, and she reads on it all the time. Yet still they are gradually falling by the wayside, like all the other big booksellers that pre-date the Internet. For all we blame top management for failing to make the transition, re-inventing a running company seems to be all but impossible.
  • So he wants to split the company into two divisions, one of which probably will fail and the other of which certainly will fail. I guess that makes some sense, but the bit he wants to make private and own himself is the bit which certainly will fail?

    The Nook doesn't have a huge shot at beating the kindle, even if they went and enabled their store on everyone's device, but it does have a shot, however remote, at being at least sort of profitable. Brick and Mortar book stores on the other hand are pretty well

    • by Daetrin (576516)
      It's not just that, but the Nook and the brick and mortar stores have at least _some_ synergy together. The one thing Amazon doesn't have is a physical storefront where you can go browse books. I will on occasion go to B&N, browse through the shelves until i find a book i like, and then buy the ebook on my Nook if the price isn't too bad. There are definitely ways that B&N could work on encouraging that relationship.

      They could add a cheap camera to the Nook tablet (at least i don't think it has on
      • by fast turtle (1118037) on Monday February 25, 2013 @10:41PM (#43010907) Journal

        Nobody caught this but what I see is he's simply doing a land grab. All of the real property (stores and such) is worth quite a bit of money and he wants it all for pennies on the dollar. If he's successful, those physical locations can then be sold off for 10-100x what he paid out to take the company private. Very nice profit for him.

        • by Eskarel (565631)

          I thought about that, but that presumes that the vast majority of B&N stores are on land actually owned by B&N, not 100% sure of that.

          • by afidel (530433)

            They are, they have 689 stores and they're top 5 landlords (the big retail REITS) hold fewer than 100 of those properties, unless BN is very atypical and has some huge percentage of their stores owned by regional REITS they own most of their locations. I know that realestate is one of the big aces that Sears and Pennies both have, since there's been basically zero new development since 2007 in commercial realestate if the economy ever really recovers there's going to be a LOT of redevelopment of old propert

      • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:26AM (#43012511)

        That's actually the only reason we got some of my elderly relatives a Nook rather than a Kindle. Their eyesight isn't very good, and ebook readers are a nice way of reading reading books with zoomable text, with much better selection than traditionally available in large-print dead-tree books. But they aren't very skilled with technology either, so feel much more comfortable having a local store they can go to to buy the books, where someone loads them onto the device, rather than having to DIY it over the internet.

        If the Nooks don't continue to be connected to the brick-and-mortar stores, it loses that advantage. Perhaps it's too niche to matter, though. Alternately, perhaps they'll keep up some kind of cross-service agreement even if the company is split.

  • by inflex (123318) on Monday February 25, 2013 @09:39PM (#43010587) Homepage Journal

    If B&N want to improve their chances of success in the online/eBook market, they really need to sort out their PubIt side of matters. Currently unless you're in the US, or have gone through the extensive red-tape to obtain a US business cred, you are not permitted to get on board with directly publishing via PubIt. Conversely, Amazon and Kobo both allow international publishers to work directly through them.

    While small publishers outside of the "Big 6" don't contribute a lot financially, as individuals there are however many many thousands of us, and a lot of our potential readers do have Nook units.

    TLDR; B&N (PubIt) needs to be open for international publishers.

    • by dido (9125)

      That's only half of it. They don't even seem to be open for international customers. As much as I'd like to get ebooks from B&N, the Nook app isn't even available outside of the US, whereas the Kindle app is. I downloaded the Nook app while I was in the US when I bought an Android tablet, intending to try to use it when I got home. Well, it never worked properly then, and uninstalling it and then trying to reinstall showed that the Nook app vanished from Google Play. And so I installed the Kindle app an

      • by alexgieg (948359)

        They don't even seem to be open for international customers.

        It's much worse than that. If they weren't open to them it'd be bad enough, but they're actually actively against them. I've been a customer of eReader and Fictionwise, two early ebook sellers, for almost a decade. At some point Fictionwise purchased eReader, so those two sources became one. Then B&N purchased Fictionwise and let it in Limbo for years, until recently they decided to shut it down for good. The good news, if you happened to be an US customer: you got your library moved to B&N! All the

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        That's because content owners are broken. The old model is sell based on market. The problem is the Internet is a market, but they think they can segment the Internet by country and get paid 200 times for one work. But as soon as something is online in one place, it's available everywhere. Even "locked down" sites like Amazon, where Amazon US will not, under any circumstances, ship to NZ, despite wording in ToS and on product pages directly contradicting that finding ("this product is available for inte
    • by Anonymous Coward

      So it's come to this: a five-line post requires a TLDR. I weep for the humanity.

  • Some segments of brick and mortar retail (consumer electronics in particular) can survive if they evolve appropriately. Bookstores, however, might just not be a segment that can. With consumer electronics a retailer would be smart to focus on actually understanding what items consumers need immediately (ie, waiting for shipping would be a really big deal) and carry those. However with bookstores there isn't that much available for "need to have it" - especially when you consider digital distribution. Unl
  • by erice (13380) on Monday February 25, 2013 @10:05PM (#43010743) Homepage

    One of the news bits omitted from TFAs but included in the BBC article is this:
    The firm plans to shut a third of its stores by the end of the year. [bbc.co.uk]

    and

    Barnes & Noble was originally a New York bookstore, which Mr Riggio bought out the branding rights to in the 1970s, before building out a successful US-wide chain.

    Keeping a giant money losing company going would seem to be hopeless. I would expect that Riggio would reduce B&N's presence to only a few stores that he is sure can survive. Essentially save the company he started by sacrificing the behemoth that it has become.

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Last time I was in one, they had just about made the transition to being a Starbucks knock off.
  • Turn it into a supplier. Let local bookstores name the stores what they want, run it as they want, and use B&N as the book supplier. Keep the B&N website and nook. Also make the nook more attractive to local bookstore owners like kobo. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/books/small-bookstores-say-theyre-thriving-even-without-big-hits.html?_r=0 [nytimes.com]
  • First they came for the record stores, and I said nothing because I didn't go to record stores. Then they came for the video rental stores, and I said nothing because I didn't own a video rental store. Then they came for the bookstores, and I said nothing because it was hopeless.

    • Good riddance. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The last three times I was in a B&N, I couldn't find the book I was looking for. Oh, they could order it, of course. The hell is the point of that? I can order it, through my Magical Intertubes.

      It's not just bookstores, however: I've been disappointed in every category of store you can think of; failing to find the products I seek.

      There's little sense in wasting time, gas and aggravation. The savings in all three more than make up for the slight delay and cost of shipping.

  • When the music industry switched to digital distribution, I was quiet for I wanted to download music.

    When the games industry switched to digital distribution, I was quiet for I wanted to download games.

    When the book industry switched to digital distribution, I despaired for I did not want digital books.


    Not having grown up consuming book content on computers, but playing games and music on them, many of us are caught in the absurdity of supporting digital in many forms and rejecting it in others. Thos
    • It's not digital books that are hurting Barnes and Noble (and previously killed competitor Borders). E-books are a successful sidebar, and will very likely continue to grow. But the biggest threat to brick and mortar stores like B&N are online retailers like Amazon, and not even their Kindle offerings.

      That bothers me more than anything else, really. I'm fine with digital books, movies, whatever. I've spent too many hours packing and sorting my dead tree book collection, not to mention finding places to

      • Yes, but I have a choice. Well, three choices actually:

        1. Go to Barnes and Noble, browse and buy books. Paying a premium. (Oh, and never seeming to find the exact book I want when I go looking for something specific.)

        2. Go to the Library and read for free, but have to deal with all the maple syrup stains on the books.

        3. Buy cheap books for as low as I can get them (too low, really to keep a bricks and mortar retailer in operation) and not run out of books to read because I can actually afford them.

        Fran

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        another threat was this stupid notion of trying to be everything....everything other than a bookstore.
        Border. prime example. and B&N falls into this too.

        When I go to these places I dont care about:
        -the massive fancy furniture
        -sitting there reading without buying
        -while drinking a latte
        -and using the WIFI
        -the piles and piles of non-book product (DVD, VHS, etc)

        When I go to a bookstore I want to get ... books. As shocking as that is.
        Borders forgot that. And B&N too.

        Waldenbooks was always where I went, f

        • I propose a solution for keeping the brick and morter stores alive: Since everything is going online and digital, let the brick and morters be digital too. I'd be happy if I could pay a dollar per hour to flip through any book I want and go to any page I want. I know that isn't practical online (otherwise you could just download the entire book and never pay for it), but brick and morter would allow me to search through and scan books to see how good they are before I buy it. (I'd use their computers tha

  • Barnes and Noble dates back to 1917. How old is this guy?

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @02:03AM (#43011875) Homepage

    What fuels "going private" are two things - low interest rates, and that interest paid by companies is deductible. "Going private" really means "leveraged buyout".

    Companies can pay for their capital through dividends to stockholders through stock buybacks which push up the stock price (or compensate for dilution through stock options), or by paying interest. Only the first is taxable.

    Tax policy and "quantitative easing" (i.e. central banks lending money at very low rates) fuel leveraged buyouts. Without those factors, "going private" would be a very rare event.

  • Barnes and Noble sold my one-off email address to spammers. If they're really that hard up for money then maybe...no, wait, fuck them.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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