Well, it is finally happening. For several years we’ve been tracking the fate of Barnes and Noble. Long-time readers will recall the financial analysis I provided three years ago that showed B&N was in the midst of a slow death. Now it is certain — unless they can sell to an investor with deep pockets who will restructure and revitalize the chain. There is no guarantee that someone will step up. Motley Fool is skeptical (see below).
What are we to do? First, if you have a relationship with one or more stores and have events there — no problem. Just note we will not be investing any further in growing this relationship, like we tried earlier this year. We are securing ourselves from the possibility of a truck full of returns.
It is very likely the new management will close a bunch of stores and consolidate inventory to be more efficient. This will result in publishers receiving a lot of returns. If the chain is not sold and goes bankrupt, a good number of publishers will likely go out of business too.
We are positioned to weather this. We have curtailed returns for the vast majority of our books with Barnes. A few of you have recently asked if we would flip this flag so you could do signings at Barnes. We will not be flipping that flag anytime soon for anyone. It is too risky!