This May Be Barnes & Noble's Final Mistake
If Barnes & Noble (NYS: BKS) is going down, it's going to sink with pride on its side.
The cavernous bookstore chain made waves yesterday, informing Bloomberg Businessweek senior reporter Brad Stone that it will not stock books put out by Amazon.com's (NAS: AMZN) fledgling Amazon Publishing arm at its retail stores.
Barnes & Noble claims that Amazon's already fragmenting the industry through online exclusivity of some titles. If Amazon wants to play that way, why should Barnes & Noble aid Amazon's plans for global domination?
The tactic may make sense on paper, but just wait until Amazon Publishing has a hit on its hands and the few people still blindly making their way to Barnes & Noble to purchase leafy reads find that the trip was wasted. Oddly enough, Barnes & Noble will offer Amazon Publishing titles through its bn.com website.
Think about that for a bit. Barnes & Noble is taking a stand, but it's going to be referring people to its website where the book will be available. It's bad enough that Amazon is encouraging real-world shoppers to do some comparison shopping in cyberspace to get a better deal. Now we have Barnes & Noble moving the e-tail revolution along?
Amazon Publishing is gaining momentum. It inked a deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for distribution just last week.
This is an industry that can't afford to play favorites. Do you think it mattered to Amazon that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt was teaming up with Pearson (NYS: PSO) and McGraw-Hill (NYS: MHP) to roll out $15 digital textbooks through Apple (NAS: AAPL) the week before that? Of course not. Apple and Amazon are becoming fierce rivals in the tablet realm, but Amazon can look past that in realizing that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will enhance its distribution -- just as Barnes & Noble stores will feel woefully incomplete the next time that Amazon Publishing has a hit.
Barnes & Noble may have been in a no-win situation, but this just makes it more likely that it will have to concede defeat sooner.
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