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Bookstores Not Dead Yet as Riggio Bets on Barnes & Noble

If bookstores are doomed in the Age of Amazon.com, would anyone want to buy Barnes & Noble Inc.’s brick-and-mortar business?

That question has loomed large ever since the company’s founder, Leonard Riggio, 72, announced earlier this year that if Barnes & Noble hived off its digital Nook business, he would be happy to buy the rest of the company. Riggio, who built the chain into a mom-and-pop-eating leviathan, has never explained exactly why he wants the business, yet analysts including David Strasser of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC say predictions of the bookstore’s demise are greatly overstated. The retail division’s profits are actually growing, which can’t be said for the digital Nook division.