In the last years before the coming of the Internet, bookstore chains decimated the ranks of independent booksellers around the world. Now all brick-and-mortar bookshops, even the 720-store Barnes & Noble colossus, are reeling, and B&N is up for sale. The news surprised analysts and alarmed publishers, who have watched as the book business has increasingly shifted to online retailers and e-book sales, leaving both chains and independent sellers struggling, even as Barnes & Noble tried to compete with Amazon and Apple in the e-reader market by opening its own e-bookstore last summer, and by introducing its own device, the Nook. Its board of directors spun the news as positively as possible. “Barnes & Noble has an iconic brand and unique competitive advantages we believe will position the company to succeed over time in a rapidly changing market,” the board said in a statement. “The board is confident in Barnes & Noble’s strategy and fully supportive of the senior management team, which is delivering explosive growth in our fast-developing digital business.”
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