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Barnes & Noble thrives on Nook, struggles in retail

updated 02:40 pm EDT, Tue August 24, 2010

Barnes and Noble loses 63 million despite e-books

Barnes & Noble today highlighted its problems in the digital space by reporting mixed results. Although it wouldn't give numbers, it claimed Nook sales were "nothing short of spectacular" and said sales had only grown since it launched the Nook Wi-Fi and cut the price of the Nook 3G. It reiterated its belief that it has more market share in digital than it does in paper; estimates put it at 20 percent.

However, the company also saw its conventional bookstore business lose ground and posted a net loss of $63 million. Some of the shortfall was owed to the costs of defeating a Delaware lawsuit, but the majority was attributed to declining traffic at its physical stores.

The company has an advantage over some competitors in selling e-readers in its own bookstores, but it has been widely acknowledged to suffer from its dependence on the declining paper book industry where Amazon, Apple and Sony can sell through much healthier electronics outlets.

In part to help in the switchover, the company has shuffled its digital group. Former eBay staffer Jamie Ianonne is being promoted to lead the company's Digital Products business, which covers the Nook, while John Foley has jumped from IAC (InterActiveCorp) to Barnes & Noble to lead the online commerce group that handles books and most other Internet sales.

The retailer has already been shifting most of its priorities in-store to the Nook and now has Apple-style Nook displays on top of earlier offers of free Nook reading in-store and e-book giveaways to those who visit.

by MacNN Staff



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