Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Barnes & Noble Founder Bails on Bailout Plan

bookshelfBack in February, Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio said he wanted to buy the retail stores from the struggling bookseller. Now he’s out.

His explanation, via an SEC filing: “While I reserve the right to pursue an offer in the future, I believe it is in the company’s best interests to focus on the business at hand. Right now our priority should be to serve the more than 10 million customers who own NOOK devices, to concentrate on building our Retail business, and to accelerate the sale of NOOK products in our stores, and in the marketplace.”

So, what does Barnes & Noble’s business at hand look like? On the one hand, the company reported quarterly results this morning that weren’t quite as bad as Wall Street feared: It only lost 86 cents per share, on revenue of $1.33 billion, versus the 89 cents and $1.32 billion consensus.

On the other hand, it is still in a lot of trouble. Total revenue was down 8.5 percent, and retail sales were down 9.9 percent. And sales at its Nook division, which were supposed to be the future of the company and now are not-quite-dead, were down 20.2 percent.

But B&N continues to insist that its e-readers are still viable products that can compete with iPads, Kindles and Android tablets: “At least one new NOOK device will be released for the coming holiday season and further products are in development.”

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Dustie)


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work