Lots of rumors were flying last night about a split of Barnes & Noble. It’s now been confirmed through an SEC filing that Len Riggio, current CEO of B&N, wants to buy the retail stores and BN.com. Nook Media and the college bookstores will remain a separate entity under current corporate leadership; Riggio doesn’t want ’em.
I can’t imagine that this will end well. Many of the college bookstores are also retail stores (like the one at my son’s college, Virginia Commonwealth University). Will there be separate retail terms for each entity? If so, that would be horribly inefficient.
And how will Nook Media be sold if not from the BN.com website? Will there be two separate sites, one for physical books and one for e-books and apps? (Assuming, of course, that Nook devices even survive this move.) B&N already has an online presence that is inferior to that of Amazon. Two sites would only make it worse for consumers.
I’ve always championed Barnes & Noble as a competitor to Amazon. Not because I don’t like Amazon—I do—but because competition is good for me as a consumer. I don’t think this move is good for either competition or consumers.
Might be time to back up my Nook content. Nook may be going the way of Fictionwise soon.