Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble…comparable sales down 3%, new NOOK tablet, Black Friday

Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble…comparable sales down 3%, new NOOK tablet, Black Friday

Interesting week at Barnes & Noble…

First, they released financial for Q2, and they simply aren’t good.

press release

Comparable store sales were down 3.2%. NOOK sales (both devices and NOOK books) were down another 19.4%, continuing an “off the cliff” trend.

As a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I find it quite odd that Leonard Riggio, Chief Executive Officer (they are looking for another…Riggio was the founding force behind this incarnation of B&N, and had chosen to reduce involvement, but stepped up again recently as a temporary measure) and Chairman of the Board, is blaming the election for “sluggish sales”.

The election should have been good for book sales: people are more curious, more information seeking. I don’t recall that being a trend in past elections, although perhaps the suggestion is that this particularly contentious election took people’s minds away from reading. Also, the idea that this post-election period is going to make people re-engage with reading if they had stepped away…well, I’d say the news coverage hasn’t been less about politics recently than it was in the lead-up.

It’s also worth noting that the big tradpubs (traditional publishers) have been having relatively good financial reports recently, suggesting that they weren’t negatively impacted by the election (which has been going on really for more than a year). It feels…counterintuitive that the publishers wouldn’t be negatively impacted but that Barnes & Noble would. B&N is less symbiotic with book publishing than it used to be (they sell a lot more toys and other non-book items now than previously), but still…

Right in the midst of this, they are announcing a new NOOK branded tablet, in the stores on Black Friday.

NOOK press release

It’s $49.99, and NOOK tablets are good devices. They say “It features front and rear-facing cameras, Bluetooth compatibility, a soft-touch back, a quad-core processor, and expandable storage space from 8GB to an additional 128GB via a microSD card (sold separately)…” Good tablet, good price, quite a few benefits for NOOK customers (including being able to read “any book” on it for an hour a day when in a Barnes & Noble. The NOOK brand of hardware has been fine…it’s been more of B&N that’s been the issue.

Barnes & Noble also announced the appointment of Demos Parneros as Chief Operating Officer (COO).

COO press release

Some in the blogosphere were surprised that they announced a COO before a new CEO, but I’m sure they want to get through the holiday season before changing out the CEO.

With all that said, there are still good reasons to shop at a B&N on Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving), even though I would say that is more for physical books (and other items).

Black Friday press release

They are doing something again this year which they did last year…signed editions. More than half a million books have been signed, and by some very well known people. Some of these will sell out quickly, and they do make great gifts.

Signed Editions information

Signing authors include current pop culture favs Amy Schumer and Trevor Noah, and nostalgic signed editions include The Phantom Tollbooth and The Outsiders.

We’ll be doing most of our Black Friday shopping at Amazon

Amazon Black Friday (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

but we do go out on Black Friday itself and over that weekend. Our main purpose is Toys for Tots, but we like to get books to donate as well.

Don’t forget that there are great deals on Amazon devices right now! I’d particularly suggest

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*) $99.99 (down from $119.99)

but there are a lot of choices.

Have fun!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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