A bold thought but are we starting to see at least some withering of this biblio monster?
Barnes & Noble reported their 3Q earnings (or should I say loss) today.
The first flag is that they called these results preliminary. As you might know, they are being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is never a good sign. They responded to the investigation by creating a special committee of its board to undertake an internal review of the company's option grant practices. The way I read it is that once they tell the truth one will see a very different picture of the health of the company.
Secondly, it seem that their years of growth are coming to end. They expect their same store sales, or sales in stores open at least a year to be unchanged or up slightly. What they don't say is that all the new stores they opened are probably losing money. I was recently in one that opened in my neighborhood in Seattle within the last year (they do have nice play areas for the kids on those rainy days :). I asked one of the clerks how the store was going. She gave me the usual "it's going ok, you know it is a new store", but it was her last statement that stuck with me. She said "the employees like it" which to me says they are book lovers who have a job being around books - it's like a cocaine addict saying they like living in Columbia.
So where is the growth going to come from- overseas? I don't believe our current trade policies are going to hold up much longer. They are completely unsustainable and the cost of doing business outside of this country has nowhere to go but up.
Also the recent news that publishers are finally getting more diverse in their marketing strategies and including specialty stores in the distribution of their titles cannot be seen as good news.
It makes me wonder if we are in the beginning stages of the bursting of a Big Box retail bubble!
Music to my ears. Stay tuned.