Barnes & Noble to Test Bundling e-Books, p-Books
Jim Milliot — Publishers Weekly, 3/4/2010 10:30:08 AM

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/451837-Barnes_Noble_to_Test_Bundling_e_Books_p_Books.php?rssid=20796

Barnes & Noble will begin testing the sale of bundled print books and e-books in the next 60 to 90 days, Barnes & Noble.com president William Lynch said at yesterday’s AAP annual meeting. Under the plan, B&N will offer customers who buy a print edition at one of their stores the opportunity to buy the e-book at a discount. Prices will be worked out in discussions with publishers, Lynch said, adding that B&N’s aim is to make the transaction with consumers as seamless as possible.

Providing e-books and print book bundles is just one way B&N hopes to use its retail footprint to increase sales of e-books while maintaining its lead position as the nation’s largest bookseller, Lynch said. While he predicted there will be fewer bookstores in the future, he said bookstores will never go away, agreeing with “interviewer” David Young of Hachette Book Group that bookstores are where bestsellers are made, particularly for books that are put in the front of the store. Still, Lynch and B&N remain bullish on both the long-term and short-term prospects for e-books, and Lynch said that with some publishers B&N works with e-books could account for 7% to 8% of sales this year and at a few publishers e-book sales could represent 10% of sales.

B&N is also a strong proponent of print-on-demand, Lynch said, noting that publishers would be surprised if they knew the amount of pod business B&N does. He said at some point it could be possible to put a pod machine directly into a store, providing the store “was big enough.” He would also not rule out the possibility that B&N could make a “small acquisition” in the technology field if it fit with its digital plans.

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