Barnes & Noble Gets Offer, Amazon Kindles E-Book Sales
Earlier in the week, we learned that Borders wasn’t having any luck finding a single buyer to purchase the bookstore chain. Then, we found Barnes & Noble doesn’t have that issue as Liberty Media Corp. has offered $1.02 billion to acquire Borders’ larger rival. Finally, Amazon.com announces that its book business is doing very well, thank you, as the company is now selling more e-books than paperbacks and hardcovers combined.
To the Liberty Media bid for Barnes & Noble, it doesn’t appear based on recent history that the company has any plans to operate the chain. According to The Wall Street Journal, "The company has repeatedly purchased stakes in businesses in order to later spin them off. In 2009, Liberty invested $530 million in Sirius XM Radio Inc. in exchange for stock and seats on the board, which kept the satellite-radio operator out of bankruptcy. Sirius subsequently turned around its business, and Liberty’s 40 percent stake in the company is now worth $3.5 billion."
According to the same Journal report, Liberty’s bid includes language that would keep Leonard Riggio, chairman of Barnes & Noble, on board "both in terms of his continuing equity ownership and his continuing role in management."
Perhaps even bigger news, relative to the future of book retailing, was Amazon’s announcement.
"Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly – we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years," Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said in a press release.
So far this year, according to Amazon, it has sold three times as many Kindle books as it did during the same period in 2010. The company also said that its Kindle with Special Offers that retails for $114 has already become its bestselling Kindle unit in just five weeks since being launched.
- Liberty Media Bids for Barnes & Noble – The Wall Street Journal
- Amazon.com Now Selling More Kindle Books Than Print Books – Amazon.com, Inc./Business Wire
Discussion Questions: Which piece of news from this week – Borders search for a buyer, Liberty Media’s bid for Barnes & Noble, Amazon’s Kindle book sales – was the most significant? What is your assessment of the near and longer-term future of the retail book market?