Robot 6

Barnes & Noble cuts off nose to spite face

"Superman: Earth One" on the Kindle Fire

“regardless of the publisher, we will not stock physical books in our stores if we are not offered the available digital format…To sell and promote the physical book in our store showrooms, and not have the eBook available for sale would undermine our promise to Barnes & Noble customers to make available any book, anywhere, anytime.”

—Jaime Carey, chief merchant at Barnes & Noble

Well, those DC graphic novels that are going to be exclusive on the Amazon Kindle Fire color e-reader are really going to be exclusive now that Barnes & Noble is pulling them from the shelves in their brick-and-mortar stores.

We heard some unofficial mentions of this earlier this week, and today Publishers Weekly’s Calvin Reid got some Barnes & Noble reps to talk on the record and admit that they are pulling the bookstore equivalent of taking their bat and their ball and going home.

The LA Times is reporting that Amazon’s exclusive is only for four months, starting on November 15, which clouds the picture a little more. Will Barnes & Noble put those graphic novels back on the shelves next March? What will they do with them in the meantime? Return them to the publisher? Store them in a warehouse? Oh, wait, they will still sell them via their online store, so they probably won’t just toss them in a dumpster and set them on fire.

It seems a little silly, as the main effect of this is going to be to slightly reduce sales at Barnes & Noble’s own stores. On the other hand, given that B&N is in the business of making money, my guess is that these books weren’t selling particularly well to begin with and taking them off the sales floor is a cheap way to make a statement. If they were selling like gangbusters, the guys in the suits would probably find some other way to protest.

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29 Comments

Going bankrupt is another way to go too.

I think some people have probably vastly over-reacted to this new.

It strikes me that the “on the other hand” of the last paragraph is closest to the truth of the matter: Barnes & Noble sell lots of different books in Barnes & Noble; DC only sell DC books in Barnes & Noble — in terms of percentage sales at Barnes & Noble, DC will be hit harder than B&N will.

Not that I imagine it’s going to make a huge difference to either of them, especially if things return to normal in 4 months.

“Nookies” like me feel DC threw a pie in our faces by NOT making these titles available on Nook Color first, a product that has been on the market nearly a year before Fire. B&N’s action is most justifiable.

But where does this deal leave us Canadians/

Yeah, I’m pretty sure B&N’s nose and face are both still well intact. DC had no know that offering the exclusive to Kindle would piss off owners (and manufacturers) or competing products.

Frankly, I don’t understand how DC benefits from the Kindle deal. This all sounds like the inevitable outcome of poor planning on the part of DC distribution.

*Ring Ring*
Hello? Yeah, just a minute.
Hey I’m lookin’ for someone here,
Yugata B. Kiddenmee?
Yugata B. Kiddenmee?
HEY EVERYBODY!
Yugata B. Kiddenmee!!!

Does Barnes & Noble even sell books anymore? I went in last week and it had turned into IKEA.

Before we all turn into DC “fanboys,” look at it from the business perspective of B&N. You’ve been selling a publisher’s product, promoting it, telling your salespeople to make customers aware of it, giving it shelf space, etc., etc. And then one fine day that publisher decides to slap you in the face and give a competitor exclusive access to 100 popular titles for that competitor’s digital tablet. Would you simply say, “Hey, that’s okay”? I doubt it. I doubt it very much. DC made a business decision to kick a partner between the legs. They had to know there would be repercussions. They were right. B&N has simply served notice that there will be a repercussions if you deny them equal access to product. That is all. Another repercussion is that those of us who own the color Nook are rather peeved that DC decided we were not worthy enough to be given access to the digital version of these titles. So be it. I enjoy my color Nook. I take it almost everywhere I go. I like being able to walk into any B&N store and read thousands and thousands of titles for free while sipping my favorite coffee or tea or conversing with a favorite bookseller about a new or old title. I wish I could have done that with DC’s titles, but they have made it very clear that I was not worthy of that. Also, before you keep wishing for a Borders-like collapse of B&N because they stepped on the toes of DC you may want to think what your experience in purchasing will be if Amazon gains the monopolistic status it is obviously driving for. Do we really want a Wal-Mart type of monster controlling the publishing world?

Take care, be well, keep flying.

I’m annoyed and blown away that B&N would decide to make *any* publisher’s titles unavailable this way. I’m not at all rejoicing in it, but I think this kind of thing is only going to hasten whatever corporate demise is coming their way.

And I was all excited about their new comics-promotion thing, too. :(

I think the final paragraph is the key. These things were probably not contributing a lot to B&N’s typical revenue stream. I would imagine that most hard-core comics fans buy their trades online or at a comic book store where they get a discount.

But I can see it as damaging to DC, especially now that Borders is toast. Without B&N, the number of physical stores where you can walk in and see a large selection of DC trade paperbacks just dropped considerably. That could make it more difficult to attract casual fans.

Everyone seems to be getting pissed at BN because of this move. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that it’s actually DC and Amazon who first limited where these books were to be available. Its actually not a bad move for the nook to have everything in store available in a digital format – (too bad the nook color isn’t going to be able to compete much longer without some serious upgrades or price drop.)

All this will do is encourage people who want a physical copy to buy it at an independent or comic book shop. Or more likely, to order it from Amazon at a steep discount.

I gotta side with B+N on this one.

@slat88:

It’s pretty obvious how DC benefits from the kindle deal: Money. Amazon is likely paying them a buttload for the exclusive digital rights. Certainly more than enough to make up por what is likely a rather piddling loss from random impulse buys of the books at B&N.

If you’re going to sell any graphic novels, you’ve GOT to sell Watchment and the Dark Knight returns. You might as well not even sell ‘em without those!

Man, the title of this journal entry isn’t biased at all, is it?

I’m pretty sure the 100 graphic novels on this list don’t make up the “Nose” of B&N as it were. I’d like to think that if it was that big of a deal, they wouldn’t’ve reacted so quickly. My guess is, B&N will be more than willing to fill that shelf with Marvel, Image, Top Cow or any other publisher’s comics. And I bet that those other Publishers will jump right on top of this opportunity.

They did it all for the Nookies, the Nookies… so you can take those bookies… and stick them up your…

You also have to remember that magazine racks in B&N featured floppies prominently, and DC’s new 52 was partly the reason for it. For DC to go exclusive with Kindle, and NOT the nook is a real punch in the gut.

Who cares? I’ll just order at Amazon.
Also, when is B&N gonna pull down all the Harry Potter books which are exclusive to Sony’s e-reader?

Brigid Alverson

October 8, 2011 at 6:09 am

@Kel-El That Harry Potter thing doesn’t seem to be true. Check the update at the bottom of this page:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/16/potter_sony_reader/

It looks like they will bundle a free download of the first book with the e-reader but there won’t be an exclusive.

Like several others in this thread, I’m going to side with B&N on this one. DC’s handlers made yet another bone-headed blunder.

All the more reason to buy at Amazon… Cheaper, and they’ve got everything.

I do sometimes buy GNs/trades at my LCS, just to throw them a bone or if I want to read something right away, but I never buy comic stuff from B&N, and rarely buy any sort of books from them. Moves like this one just give me another reason to not shop with them and give my money to either local, indie bookstores or Amazon. Let B&N go the way of Borders.

If I were B&N I would slash the price of the Nook Color to $179. Which they’ll have no choice to do if they want to stay in the e-book business.

Marvel is definitely rejoicing in this. Especially since this covers the holiday shopping season. People walking into B&N looking for an impulse buy or for something for their comic loving friends and family and seeing more Marvel than DC on the shelves? Christmas is going to be a good time for Marvel’s gn sales.

This isn’t new. This has always been Barnes and Noble’s policy. If there is a digital version and they can’t sell it they won’t stock it on their shelves. I don’t get it because if someone has a Kindle and goes to B and N and can’t find it on the shelf, where are they going to go to buy it? But this isn’t new or just a DC thing but it is making news since it is comic related.

It’s official: digireaders STINK. That’s not reading, you dolts–that’s staring at a bright screen for an hour until your eyes dry out.

Folks, GNs not having been on the Nook already could have as much to do with BN and their platform as any decision from DC. If BN had been half as motivated as Amazon to get them, they’d probably have been there already.

are people actually moronic enough to believe that B&N would go out of business because they didn’t sell DC product? Wow. I wondered why the comment section reminded me of the special olympics.

Winner, 2011 Most Insipid Comics News Headline. Congratulations.

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