Is Barnes & Noble the Bookstore’s Last Stand??

Dear Commons Community,

Over the weekend there was an extensive article on the future of Barnes & Noble in the New York Times and whether it represents the bookstore’s last stand.  While not predicting its demise in the immediate future,  there is serious concern about whether Barnes & Noble and other traditional bookstores (what are left of them) will survive the era of and electronic publishing.   Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Inside the great publishing houses — grand names like Macmillan, Penguin and Random House — there is a sense of unease about the long-term fate of Barnes & Noble, the last major bookstore chain standing. First, the megastores squeezed out the small players…Then the chains themselves were gobbled up or driven under, as consumers turned to the Web. B. Dalton Bookseller and Crown Books are long gone. Borders collapsed last year.

No one expects Barnes & Noble to disappear overnight. The worry is that it might slowly wither as more readers embrace e-books. What if all those store shelves vanished, and Barnes & Noble became little more than a cafe and a digital connection point? Such fears came to the fore in early January, when the company projected that it would lose even more money this year than Wall Street had expected. Its share price promptly tumbled 17 percent that day.

Lurking behind all of this is, the dominant force in books online and the company that sets teeth on edge in publishing. From their perches in Midtown Manhattan, many publishing executives, editors and publicists view Amazon as the enemy — an adversary that, if unchecked, could threaten their industry and their livelihoods.

Like many struggling businesses, book publishers are cutting costs and trimming work forces. Yes, electronic books are booming, sometimes profitably, but not many publishers want e-books to dominate print books. Amazon’s chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, wants to cut out the middleman — that is, traditional publishers — by publishing e-books directly.”

I think we are turning the corner on e-books and that there will be a steady but clear path to greater adoption of e-books by authors. is poised very well to not only be the major seller of books but the major publisher also.  Barnes & Noble might indeed become a digital cafe.



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