Barnes and Noble Chairman Leonard S. Riggio is planning to put in a bid to buy the floundering bookseller’s 689 stores. The New York Times writes, “The move would effectively cleave the retail arm, which established itself over four decades as the industry’s giant, from Nook Media, the e-book division that investors and analysts had believed would usher the retailer into the Internet era. The Nook has been beaten badly by Amazon.com’s Kindle and the iPad in sales.”
This news comes on the heels of a spate of recent bad news for Barnes and Noble. In December, the retailer announced they would have to shutter 15 stores with the chief executive of their retail group projecting many more store closings in the future saying “In 10 years we’ll have 450 to 500 stores.” B&N also reported disappointing Nook sales this past holiday.
Amidst the belt tightening, the bookstore giant has fought competitors and even publishers. They refused to carry titles published by chief competitor Amazon (which hurt sales of Amazon Publishing’s first title, The 4-Hour Cookbook by Tim Ferriss), and recently reduced orders of Simon and Schuster books allegedly because the publisher is not adequately supporting them.
Things seemed to be looking up for the embattled book retailer when investor Daniel Tisch increased his stake in B&N shares, but this news about Riggio’s reported plans to effectively split the company into two struggling halves thrusts the company into further uncertainty. If Riggio’s bid is accepted, the resulting company will be privately owned.