Friday, January 02, 2015

Barnes & Noble Is at It Again

It seems like the biggest bookselling chain still standing has been trying to figure out what to do with its Nook e-reader for a long time.  And for at least the last couple of years, many have been expecting Barnes & Noble to spin off the Nook portion of its business into a separate company.  That process got more  complicated in 2012 after Microsoft and British publisher Pearson each bought substantial stakes in the Nook.  But now that B&N has bought those interests back (at substantially less than they sold them for to Microsoft and Pearson, by the way), that spinoff might finally happen.  

According to this short Wall Street Journal note:
The company is planning to split into companies, one with Nook and its college bookstores and another consisting of the retail stores and website, by the end of August (2015).

We'll have to wait to see if it actually happens this time.  I, for one, am pulling for Barnes & Noble to pull off this thing because I pretty desperately want to see the chain survive for the long haul - I cannot imagine living without easy access to a large brick and mortar bookstore.  I'm not a user of the Nook (having succumbed to the charms of a Kindle Fire for whatever e-book reading that I do),  but if the Nook can save the rest of the chain, I will sing its praises here on Book Chase forever.


  1. I've heard B&N has never made a profit on the Nook, it has been a losing venture from the start. I believe their college bookstores are still profitable so it is interesting that the Nook business might split with the college stores. Doesn't make much sense to me since the two have nothing to do with each other, but I'm sure someone in the company thinks it's a brilliant idea. Whatever they end up doing I hope bookstores and website stick around!

    1. I've read the B&N financial statements for a number of years, and watched the Nook hurt their numbers for all of those years. I've been preaching for a long time that they needed to shed that business if they wanted their brick and mortar locations to survive. But, like you, I'm now surprised that they are thinking of shedding the college stores right along with Nook...not the way I would go, that's for sure.