Interesting news on the bookstore and ereader front today.
B&N (Barnes & Noble) received an investment from Liberty Funding. The amount comes to around $204 million (which of course is done through stock at a determined price, etc).
Last year B&N put itself up for sale but didn’t sell… and perhaps in hindsight that’s a good thing. Borders is now gone, the last remaining store will be closed by the end of summer. Investors are hoping that Borders customers will make the switch to them. Not sure how that will pan out – where I live, the closest big book store is a good forty minute drive… whereas a walk to my laptop is one set of steps (and my favorites menu has Amazon ready to go…).
B&N is really trying to put themselves in a spot to compete with Amazon and the other big guys out there. In the article I read they listed some big names: Amazon, Google, Apple. While I respect B&N and I have heard great things about the Nook, I worry about a company that’s basing its survival on one product. Now sure B&N has bookstores, I’m not discounting that at all, but in terms of the future – and where B&N wants themselves to be – they want to keep building their stake in the ebook market.
Let’s look at those other companies for a minute… what’s the difference between those companies and B&N?
Those other companies have other products. Complimentary products help sell main products, etc. Amazon isn’t a bookstore – it’s an everything store (hence the A-Z concept). Google is not just a bookstore or bookseller, look at their expansion plans. And Apple, well, we all know what Apple sells.
So my thought is: could B&N really make a living and a name for itself off its Nook? What will the future Nook be? Will they have a large line these ereaders? Maybe incorporate a tablet into the mix too?
I can’t be sure. I’m not saying the investment from Liberty Funding is bad – I think it’s great that B&N now has a little ground to walk. They can exhale their breath and take a step away from the destruction that became Borders. They can look to the future, and I really hope they succeed.
But now, in the background of this deal, what does it say about ebooks? Think about it… who in their right mind would give a bookstore $204 million? Come on, be honest here. Nobody would. But when you toss in the figures for ebooks, ooohhh, does that sweeten the pot or what? This is really amazing to watch right now. Investors like Liberty stand a chance to really make a great return is B&N can step up their market share of ebooks. And guess what? That market in which all these big companies want to get more of is only going to grow and grow and grow. We’re in a slow season right now as booksellers. Head to KB and see how many people are worrying about their sales. And from the historic data that long term authors are giving show that August is usually a rough month. Summer – vacations – back to school. And with the explosion of ebooks this past spring and Amazon picking up authors to their publishing company, could you imagine what this winter is going to be like? Last year it was a big deal with authors were breaking 5,000 – 10,000 books sold in December… I have a feeling some authors are going to blow that figure out of the water this year.
With the extra tablets sales, Kindle sales, Nook sale, smart phone sales, Kindle Cloud Reader – and the general expansion of the knowledge of ebooks… this is going to be a wild season.
Personally, this will be my first October – April season of selling books. I’ve been preparing new books, new book trailers, new ideas, new everything. I’m ready to go.
So tell me… what do you think of this investment from Liberty? And what are your thoughts about this coming winter season for selling ebooks??