Did Barnes & Noble truly fail at multichannel?

In short, yes. It is hard to think that once arch-rival Boarders went out of business, Barnes & Noble would have had a hard time capitalizing on the market share. The truth of the matter is that while their physical stores are holding on, if only by a thread, their attempt to merge eBook’s with physical sales has ended up being their largest revenue drain, according to Storefront Backtalk.


From the article:

It wasn’t for lack of trying. The whole point behind putting Lynch in the CEO chair was that he had been running the chain’s online operation. That didn’t work out, in part because Lynch really, really didn’t like physical bookstores—so much that he moved out of the chain’s Manhattan headquarters to work in the dot-com offices a mile away, and the CFO and other top executives followed him.

So much for merging the channels.

But that wasn’t the only lost omnichannel opportunity, and if Riggio actually convinces his board to sell him the stores and E-Commerce operation, as he proposed in February, Barnes & Noble still has a deep omnichannel problem.

No, the Nook turned out not to be the answer—having a bookstore in your pocket is nice, but the Nook wasn’t as nice a pocket bookstore as the Kindle or the iPad. Barnes & Noble was used to getting books from publishers and selling them, not engaging in back-alley knife fights over pricing and exclusive rights.