Barnes & Noble Puts Itself Up For Sale
Barnes & Noble Inc., put itself up for sale Tuesday, succumbing to pressure from shareholder activists as digital books erode the traditional business of the nation's largest bookstore chain.
he company said Leonard Riggio, its founder and chairman, is contemplating forming an investor group to buy Barnes & Noble, whose 720 namesake stores are a fixture in American cities both large and small. It sells approximately 300 million books annually.
A few years ago, such figures represented a fearsome retailing force, attracting ire of rivals and publishers who fretted that one company controlled the country's book-reading tastes. Since then, it has been hobbled by larger technological forces, with books becoming mere digital files, peddled by anyone with an Internet connection.
"Anybody with their eyes open knows that the retail book market is increasingly challenged," said Mike Shatzkin, chief executive of Idea Logical Co., a New York consulting firm. Each new report that shows e-book sales are growing more rapidly than expected only intensifies the problems facing the bookstore chains, he said.