Barnes & Noble is Falling Behind as Nook Sales Crumble

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Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) got back some rather unsatisfying numbers in the holiday season but is still hopeful to finish out the fiscal year strong.

Barnes & Noble was hot out of the gate over the Black Friday weekend, with sales for its Nook device doubling, but from there the numbers slowly started to disintegrate. In the 9 weeks ending December 29, the Nook segment’s revenue dropped 12.6 percent year-on-year. Digital content sales grew, but at a rate less than half that of the previous quarter and almost a tenth of that in the 2011 holiday season.

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Seeing numbers decline in the young market of tablets and e-readers is a bad sign, as they should rather be accelerating as more and more people switch from traditional books and magazine to the new technology. The physical Barnes & Noble book stores are also seeing fewer customers — even after the competitor Borders was liquidated — which may point to an overall reduced popularity for the company as the selection for tablet devices grows to entice consumers elsewhere.

Despite the troubling numbers, Barnes & Noble is still confident it can reach the $3 billion in sales for Nook Media that it had predicted back in October.

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