What Happened? New Article Looks at the Story of Barnes & Noble and the Nook
The company hasn’t announced its plans yet, but it will probably sell the e-reader business or shut it down. Barnes & Noble’s Nook misadventure may look like one of those inexplicable unforced errors businesses make from time to time, like New Coke or the Edsel. But it’s hard to blame Lynch for trying to transform the company. The digital revolution is changing the dynamics of the business. The company had to respond, and it still does. The problem was that [William] Lynch [former CEO] tried to transform the wrong thing.
Barnes & Noble has a history of ill-timed technological decisions. In the 1990s it was focused on beating Borders and didn’t set up its website until 1997, a full two years after Amazon.com went live. It introduced a primitive e-reader too early, in 2001 (on Sept. 11, to make things worse). After Amazon introduced the Kindle in 2007, Barnes & Noble needed someone to take control of its destiny and hired Lynch to do just that.
“Barnes & Noble cannot ultimately escape the fate of Blockbuster and Virgin [Megastore]. But they have to make the slide into oblivion more gradual,” says Idea Logical’s Shatzkin. “Does Barnes & Noble have 3 years or 10 years? I don’t know. But it doesn’t have 20 years, that’s for sure. They have to manage their disappearance or turn into something completely different.”
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See Also: CEO of Barnes & Noble Resigns & Other Senior Leadership Changes at BKS
See Also: Barnes & Noble Will End Manufacturing Nook Tablets as Company Posts Large Quarterly Loss (June 25, 2013)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.