Reuters reports that shares of Barnes & Noble rose more than 3 percent on Wednesday, after the chairman of the book retailer’s board revealed he had purchased 100,000 shares of the company. In a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Wednesday, founder and former CEO Leonard Riggio said he purchased 100,000 shares of the world’s largest book retailer on August 10 at an average price of $32.64 per share — the same day the stock hit its lowest level since late 2004. The purchase increased the chairman’s holdings to nearly 13 million shares, according to the filing. Riggio and his brother Stephen, who is now the company’s chief executive, together own more than a quarter of the company’s stock.
Posts Tagged ‘Barnes & Noble’
And for once, a headline is both cheeky and sincere; every message board I lurk on and nearly every bookstore I frequent seems to have someone swooning over the romantic adventures of Bella and Edward, starcrossed lovers because he’s a vampire and she isn’t. So no wonder Stephenie Meyer – whose books were originally bought by Little, Brown for $750,000 in a world rights deal- has more than earned out the publisher’s investment. And now, with ECLIPSE selling more than 150,000 copies in its opening day of sales, it is safe to say that “life after Harry” might not be so bad after all.
“We were anticipating the book would be very big, but it has exceeded our expectations,” Steve Riggio, chief executive of Barnes & Noble, told Jeff Trachtenberg. “As booksellers, we’re thrilled.” Little, Brown, too, thought ECLIPSE might sell 40,000 copies in its first week based on past success of TWILIGHT and NEW MOON. “I’ve been in this business for 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Megan Tingley, the imprint’s publisher. So they’ve gone back to press, Meyer continues to pack in thousands at signings and it should be interesting to see what the reception will be when the fourth and final volume comes out next year.
Though it’s not a Barnes & Noble pictured at the top, crouching on the floor with a hunched back is what browsers are relegated to doing at a B&N near you, as the Baltimore Sun’s Rob Hiaasen discovers. Just a decade ago, says Hiaasen, the trend in the bookstore industry was to fit nooks and crannies with big chairs for browsing, which, it was hoped, would spur buying. But now the availability of so-called “soft” seating – overstuffed chairs and sofas – is on the decline at some bookstores, done in by various complications: homeless squatters, overly enthusiastic young lovers, food trash left behind.
“We were finding people staying for hours and hours and not necessarily buying books,” says Juliana Wood, district marketing manager for the Borders chain. “We obviously hope browsing turns to purchasing, but that’s a chance you take when you offer people a really comfortable setting.”There was early skepticism about the trend to bookstores so comfortable that a visitor might simply relax but not buy, but other factors arose that some operators hadn’t predicted.”People were falling asleep in the chairs, then spilling their coffee. We want you to be comfortable, but we also want to be able to clean up after you have left,” Wood says. At another store, she once broke up two teenagers exploring something other than a good book – “by the children’s section, no less.”
With the publication date of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS less than a month away, expect the volume of stories to increase (even if the quality, or significance, may not correlate.) Today we have a few choice morsels including:
- A rare first edition bought by a UK schoolgirl fetched 9,000 pounds. Truthfully, I thought it would get more at this stage, but what do I know? [Life Style Extra]
Barnes & Noble reported in a release today that sales for the first quarter increased 3% to $1.1 billion. Barnes & Noble store sales increased 3.3% to $1.0 billion, with comparable store sales increasing 1.7% for the quarter. Barnes & Noble.com sales were $93.8 million for the quarter, an 8.0% comparable sales increase compared to the prior year period. First quarter losses were $1.7 million or $0.03 per share, better than the company’s guidance for a loss of $0.08 to $0.12 per share.
The Associated Press reports on an investors note sent out yesterday by Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter that had share prices rising and people speculating. That’s because Balter suggested that bookseller Barnes & Noble should consider acquiring rival Borders. “Book retailing is an industry with very little if any growth as the Internet becomes the first source to answer most questions and offers books for lower prices,” he wrote. “Coupled with wholesalers such as Costco receiving better buying terms than the retailers, we believe a Barnes & Noble for Borders transaction would be approved and could create substantial back office synergies.”
Borders shares rose 65 cents, or 3 percent, to $22.56. The stock has traded between $16.20 and $24.19 in the past 52 weeks. Barnes & Noble shares rose 16 cents to $40.44, and neither piece of news is surprising as stock prices shift with any new bit of information. From a competition standpoint, a merger between the two major bookstore chains seems rather disastrous for publishers and authors as the fortunes of non-bestselling authors could be plunged even further into dire territory. For the chains, though, it might be a different story – especially if a merger prevents one, or both companies from dying on the vine, which is all too possible sooner than we think.
That’s the verdict reached by the Wall Street Journal’s Carol Hymowitz, noting that new business books of late don’t include tomes by celebrity executives. Instead, Hymowitz notes, readers are seeking advice on the nitty-gritty tasks of running companies, analyzing complex data to make smart decisions and expanding undervalued assets. “We’re in a back-to-basics era with the names of many of the same authors still on best-seller lists,” says David Hathaway, a book buyer at Barnes & Noble in New York. “There’s no book by a big personality like (former General Electric CEO) Jack Welch on the horizon, and it’s a challenge trying to find the next big hit,” he adds.
Never mind that many execs namechecked may not even be working at their respective jobs anymore (thanks to mergers, oustings or other less savory reasons) and that CEOs tend to keep older books on their respective bookshelves. Private-equity investor and bankruptcy expert Wilbur Ross also thinks business books tend to be geared toward people in their early careers who are learning how to get along with bosses, motivate employees and advance. He cautions even these readers not to follow rigid prescriptions by big names. “What worked for Jack Welch won’t necessarily work in other cultures,” says Ross, known for restructuring failed companies. “You can’t isolate qualities of leadership that work in one place and transfer them wholesale.”
Dear lord, is this some kind of Black Friday of bookselling? We report the unhappy news of the following impending bookstore closures:
- Here in New York City, Barnes & Noble plans to shut down its Astor Place location due to increasing rents. “We’d like to stay there, but we really can’t afford it,” said company spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating to the New York Post yesterday.*
- After weeks of swirling rumors, Cody’s has announced it will close its Stockton Street store in San Francisco only months after its flagship Telegraph Avenue store in Berkeley went under. The last day for the Stockton Street retail shop will be April 20, leaving only a single shop in Berkeley left of what was once the Bay Area’s signature independent bookstore chain.
- And two years after noted mystery indie Poisoned Pen expanded from its Scottsdale base into Phoenix, that shop, Poisoned Pen Central, will close. The Arizona Republic reports that suffered a loss of business last summer after the city shut its building down for renovations for two weeks, from which it never recovered.
*Ron observes that while the excellent author events programming at the Astor Place B&N will be missed, it’s not as if there isn’t another, larger B&N less than a dozen blocks away at Union Square. Also, there’s two independent bookstores within a five-minute walk of the square, and another five minutes would take you to one more (two if you count Housing Works); perhaps they’ll pick up some new customers.