Industry News: B&N to keep closing stores, Fire dominates Android market, Beers for Books!
Barnes & Noble to Close 20 Stores a Year for Ten Years
As Borders fades into history, Barnes & Nobles is taking some steps to avoid following it. Michel Klipper, the head of B&N’s retail group says the chain plans to close as many as 20 stores per year for the next 10 years, shrinking its base from 689 stores now to between 450 to 500 stores ten years form now. Most of B&N’s growth has come from its Nook business unit. But the news isn’t as bad as it sounds. B&N has been closing about 15 stores year for the past 10 years, and some of those re-open in better locations. The chain is also testing new prototype stores.
What this means to you: Don’t buy Barnes and Noble stock. Although it’s the last remaining major chain book store, it’s not in a healthy place. And while Nooks and e-books have been a core business, there are limits for both. If you own a Kindle, you can’t buy e-books from B&N. And the Nook has some significant limitations. Although the operating system is a variant of the Android system, it doesn’t run mainstream Android products. For instance, I can check work email with a product called Good, which is available for Android, but is not available for the Nook variant. I can hack the operating system to run straight Android–and void the warranty. (Although it’s expired by now.)
Kindle Fire Accounts for 37% of Android Tablet Market
As if to underscore B&N’s challenges, a report released this week by an analytics firm called Loyalytics says that nearly two in every five Android tablets sold in the US are Kindle Fires. The Nook finished a distant second with just 10% of the Android tablet market, edging out the Samsung Galaxy (9%) and the Nexus 7 (8%). It’s not like the competitors can make up the ground overseas. The US accounts for 59% of the worldwide Android tablet market.
What this means to you: Although the inevitable triumph of e-books may not be so inevitable, the dominance of the Fire, combined with Amazon’s dominance in the bookselling world means the competitors are probably right to be concerned. It’s this kind of dominance that drove five of the big six to conspire with Apple (or not) to curb Amazon’s dominance. Given the limitations of the Nook, its market share isn’t likely to jump by leaps and bounds.
Beers for Books: An Ideas Whose Time Has Come
Not only is February 14 the international day of luuuuv, it’s also International Book Giving Day. Surprisingly, planning International Book Giving Day on a day normally associated with love and its physical manifestations is not a play to sell more copies of 50 Shades of Grey. According to the website, International Book Giving Day is a day “dedicated to getting new, used and borrowed books in the hands of as many children as possible.” One of the ways they suggest accomplishing that is to find a friendly local bar that’s willing to donate a buck for each beer served and party hearty. The proceeds would go to Room to Read and other groups (ahem, Florida Writers Foundation) that promote youth literacy.
What this means to you: Unfortunately, Florida isn’t one of the states that currently has a Beers for Books planned, according to the International Book Giving Day website. However, the idea would make a good fundraiser for supporting child literacy any other time of the year, as well. Any event involving beer is great. Any event involving beer and literacy is incredible.