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Updated: ‘Amazon Derangement Syndrome’ characterizes dispute between Amazon and Hachette
May 24, 2014 | 12:36 am

So, there’s a thing. Over on The Passive Voice, and some other blogs with similar points of view, they refer to it as “Amazon Derangement Syndrome (ADS),” for the way a certain class of people seem to like to run around like chickens with their heads cut off whenever the evil Amazon does another evil thing evilly. Now, I’ll grant that ADS might not be the best term to go around using if you want to engage in serious discourse, given that the sort of people who toss it around are likely to be just as opinionated in...

Amazon vs. Hachette: Theories and opinions
May 14, 2014 | 5:30 pm

So, Amazon vs. Hachette. There’s a thing. One multibillion dollar company versus another in a contract negotiation, Amazon delaying availability of Hachette books, authors getting caught in the middle, and we’re supposed to root for the publisher because Amazon is, of course, evil. Right. Publishers Weekly has a pretty informative and more or less neutral article looking at the matter and putting it in perspective of the publishers’ antitrust settlement and subsequent renegotiation windows. Hachette will be the first of the publishers to get to renegotiate its contract with Apple, in October 2015, and undoubtedly Amazon wants to...

What if Amazon bought Barnes & Noble?
March 14, 2014 | 11:12 am

There’s a peculiar phenomenon by which year-old articles sometimes show up again in news aggregators and social network feeds that for some reason see the month and day part of the date and miss the year. (It’s gotten me in trouble before.) But today it brings up an interesting blog post I missed the first time around. And while a lot has changed since the post was written in March 2013, it still bears a little bit of thinking about: might or should Amazon buy the struggling Barnes & Noble? There’s been a lot of speculation...

Author Earnings III: The Barnes & Noble report
February 25, 2014 | 2:53 pm

howeychartHugh Howey and his stats guy have again crawled, this time looking at one day’s worth of Barnes & Noble sales data for the top 5,000 genre fiction Nook e-books.  They found a picture similar to their Amazon look, though a bit less skewed in favor of self-publishing. (Perhaps this is because B&N doesn’t have as good a self-publishing program as Amazon? Or because Amazon offers incentive to people to self-publish with Amazon exclusively so more of them do? Howey doesn’t speculate.) Even with this being said, indie-published titles make up over half of the top 5,000 titles, with...

G Asset Management B&N offer may be busted for lowballing
February 25, 2014 | 10:25 am

barnes & NobleAs readers of Chris Meadows's report in TeleRead will already know, investment group G Asset Management has offered to buy out Barnes & Noble for around $1.3 billion. Now an announcement indicates that a shareholder litigation suit has been launched against the directors of B&N by former SEC attorney Willie Briscoe and securities litigation firm Powers Taylor LLP for entertaining an offer at too low a price. "Barnes & Noble shareholders will receive just $22 in cash for each share of Barnes & Noble owned, which is below the 52-week high of $23.71 and well below at least one analyst’s estimated...

G Asset Management seeks to buy majority share of B&N, or B&N’s Nook subsidiary
February 21, 2014 | 4:19 pm

So what are we to make of this? An investment firm, G Asset Management, wants to buy 51% of Barnes & Noble in a deal working out to $22 per share. (Its current share price is $18.) This isn’t the first offer it’s made for the business, either. It offered $20 per share in November. If it can’t buy the whole thing, it wants to buy 51% of Barnes & Noble’s Nook business at $5 per share. The firm thinks that B&N should split its retail and Nook businesses. The interesting thing to me is that, if B&N were...

What will I do with my Nook Simple Touch now?
February 19, 2014 | 10:25 am

nook simple touchI wonder if my Nook Simple Touch will become a collector’s item. Most likely, it will just be exactly what it is now – a gadget collecting dust with the battery killed off long ago. I haven’t used my NST in months, maybe even a year. So, it was not surprising when I read on The Digital Reader that Barnes & Noble discontinued the Nook Touch. I didn’t have any major issues with my NST, but once I got my Google Nexus 7 two summers ago, it became my little computer away from my laptop, including an e-reader, RSS reader, Candy Crusher, Facebook...

Barnes & Noble names Nook division CEO Michael Huseby to overall CEO slot
January 8, 2014 | 2:20 pm

Barnes and Noble has just picked up a new overall CEO. Or at least a new-old one. Digital Book World and Publishers Weekly report that B&N has moved Michael Huseby, former CEO of the Nook division, into the top CEO spot left by William Lynch who vacated in July. Huseby said in a statement in the press release: My role, as I see it, is to enhance and unlock the value of these businesses for our shareholders. We are well-positioned in today’s dynamic reading and learning markets and confident in our ability to provide our customers...

Christmas Eve in a bookstore: How it used to be
December 24, 2013 | 12:58 pm

100326VaughnCarrie Vaughn, author of the Kitty Norville werewolf novels, has posted to her blog an amusing tale of the Christmas Eves she used to work in a bookstore, right after college. She explains that she actually loved working Christmas Eve, in spite of the conventional wisdom about holiday-season retail, because last-minute bookstore shoppers were generally very easy to please, and in miraculously helping them find exactly what she needed, she got to “[feel] like Wonder Woman.” Because bookstores are, for the most part, staffed by intelligent, well-read people who want nothing more than to foist vast...

Loss leading did not begin with Amazon
December 21, 2013 | 11:00 am

A bookseller slashes prices on bestsellers by as much as 40% over the publisher’s suggested retail price. It starts doing a brisk business, and as a result is able to stock more backlist titles that move more slowly. Competitors cry foul. Some go under. Publishers are driven out of business, or need to consolidate with other publishers to survive. Am I talking about Amazon, whose $9.99 e-books drove publishers into a conspiracy, or the recent consolidation of Random House and Penguin? Actually, no—I’m talking about Barnes & Noble in 1974. Futurebook is carrying an essay by Tim Coutis, from...

Barnes & Noble bookseller LiveJournal community offers candid, depressing look behind the scenes at B&N stores
December 19, 2013 | 7:31 pm

Over on The Passive Voice, I found a link to a LJ community where Barnes & Noble employees anonymously discuss their work lives. I’ve been reading through a few comment threads, and wow is it depressing. You would sort of expect Barnes & Nobles to be decent places to work, wouldn’t you? All the books, the surrounding of pure distillate of culture on every shelf. It’s not an “everything store” for cheap and shoddy goods like Wal-Mart, after all. Surely they pay their employees a decent wage and treat them decently, right? Right? …wrong. The comments...

Independent bookseller suit against Amazon tossed, while Barnes & Noble faces SEC investigation
December 10, 2013 | 11:44 am

Pro tip: if you're going to file a lawsuit alleging "conspiracy," have more evidence in hand than just "they did something I don't like." Andrew Albanese reports at Publishers Weekly that Federal Judge Jed Rakoff just tossed out a lawsuit filed by independent booksellers alleging a conspiracy between the Big Six publishers and Amazon to restrain trade and lock rivals out of the Kindle platform. (Gosh, those publishers sure are busy, to be involved in one conspiracy with Apple against Amazon, and then another conspiracy with Amazon against everybody else at the same time! How did they ever keep everything...