It was eery. Just as I was opening the door to my favorite Barnes and Noble yesterday, I heard that Amazon had sold out of it's new "affordable" Kindle. If you didn't order the new Kindle over the past couple of days , you'll now have to wait until September to receive yours.
Meanwhile, back at the Galleria, I was thinking how much I love being in a book store. Prior to March 13,2009, when I downloaded Doris Kearn Goodwin's Team Of Rivals to my Kindle App on my iPod Touch, I was a regular visitor to this particular Barnes and Noble. Before yesterday, the last time I was in this store was in January when I was asking the staff to explain how to take notes on my Nook.
According to The Guardian, the share price for B&N has dropped 45% last year. Barnes and Noble did get into ebook market at the end of last year -- after a very hypped up introduction, it had a shakey start. Even so 75% of its sales still come from its brick--and-mortar stores.
So it's no surprise that, B&N, which owns 720 stores, announced yesterday it was calling in the investment bank Lazard to advise on strategic alternatives including "a possible sale of the company."
The chain's founder Leonard Riggio, who started the business with a bookstore in New York's Greenwich Village in 1965, immediately declared that he was a possible buyer, sending Barnes & Noble's share price up by 25% in unofficial after-hours trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Riggio is B&N's biggest investor with a stake of almost 25%. But Riggio has come under criticism from an activist investor, billionaire Ron Burkle, over a deal in which he sold his family's chain of college bookstores last year to B&N for $514m – a price that Burkle claimed was excessive.