Barnes and Nobel is playing catch up with Amazon and launched a new webpage with significant glitches and problems. The end result is a 22% drop in sales and left with only a little cash on hand. The digitization strategies are failing and the company now faces serious risks of having to either make a last ditch effort to change, sell off unprofitable stores, or liquidate assets.
It is a shame. I loved B&N and the years of reading at their coffee shops. I still buy from them and am a little frightened they are moving down a path of going out of business. With Border Books taking a nose dive a few years ago books stores are becoming specialty shops and novelties.
You can almost foresee small mom and pop bookstore coffee shops springing up to fill the void. The grand bookstores some of these large chains offer are trying to buck the trend. Someone will need to fill the smaller but more robust niche book loving crowd.
What happened to B&N and to Border Books does highlight the trend of the market moving to electronic books and those that offer the best prices and platforms win. When companies don't adjust quickly and stay ahead of the market they have a harder time playing catch up later.
If they are going to survive then radical change is needed. This may require downsizing their large stores and focusing on demographics that buy the most books. That would require an adjustment of their strategy to focus on a smaller but more condensed relationship with the market.
They might have also offer comparable services that fulfill the needs of their core book reading market. Free electronic readers that app to your smart phone, shared discounted services with other large entities, and advertised more effectively online.
The immediate future looks a little bleak for B&N and with some great stroke of luck they could turn around their situation. Hopefully they do. The market seems to be saying that it no longer wants to touch and feel the paper launching us into a new era of paperless books. Books have become gifts and collector items.