Sunday, January 06, 2013

Troubling Sales Stats from B&N

Last week I posted a list of top crime fiction for 2012 from January Magazine. The magazine has now produced a part II to their top crime list. They’ve also completed their best children’s books, cookbooks, fiction, and nonfiction lists, among others, so take a look at them at for the latest.

A couple of articles this week commented about Barnes & Nobles’ release of sales figures for the Christmas season and clearly, the numbers were disappointing. Both in-store and online sales were down about 8.2%. The sales of Nook readers were down by 12.6%, while digital content sales were up by only 13.1%. While that might not seem too bad, the article also reports that Nook business last year was up by 43%.

The thing is, a lot of Nook readers have sold over the last couple of years, and if you bought one how often do you need to replace it? Not everyone has to have the latest model of e-readers. Has earlier success caught up with B & N, causing a slowdown, or is something else going on?

An article from The Shatzkin Files says there was lower bookstore traffic this season, while the sale of independent books was apparently strong over the holiday season. Indie authors made solid efforts to sell books in print form this year. Also, they aren’t investing money in brick-and-mortar stores, nor spending big bucks to create their own dedicated e-readers like B&N, so profit margins are better.

There’s more in the interesting article, but the bottom line appears to be that bookselling is still a tough haul, even though B&N is the largest chain in the U.S. You can read more at

An article in, quotes some of the same stats but makes a more dramatic statement proclaiming that B&N’s e-book sales strategy simply isn’t working. B&N should have been able to capitalize on the closure of the Borders chain a few months back, but hasn’t. So, the question they pose is this the beginning of the end for B&N? Will America’s last chain survive when Amazon’s strategy and sales appear to be so much better? Time will tell, to read the piece go to

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