Barnes & Noble, Bright and Gloomy

Barnes & Noble Chief executive William Lynch Jr. paints a rosy picture in today’s New York Times.

Store sales are up 4% over the Holiday, its holds 27% of the ebook business, and its stores “are not going anywhere.”

The reality is that stores are closing as I witnessed in Georgetown a few weeks ago and that Amazon is dominating the ebook and ereader market.

People hang out and Barnes & Noble to access the Internet on their non-B&N devices and drink Starbucks coffee all without ever buying any books.

In short, Barnes & Noble is a great hangout spot for sampling books you’re going to buy elsewhere.

At this point Barnes & Noble is using its stores to market its future in the digital book market.  It’ll probably downsize though and use its display space for the top sellers and major releases and keep the cafe as its hub for bringing in foot traffic.

The good news is that there’s a huge appetite for books in a social setting.  Books inspire people to think and create.  And you can’t get that sitting on your couch.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.