Barnes & Noble Spat With Simon & Schuster Resolved

Barnes & Noble Inc., the largest U.S. bookstore chain, has settled a dispute with CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster book-publishing unit that may end shortages of certain titles at the retailer’s stores.

Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster “have resolved their outstanding business issues,” the companies said in an e-mailed statement yesterday, distributed by Adam Rothberg, a spokesman for the book publisher. “They look forward to promoting great books by Simon & Schuster authors.”

Details of the settlement weren’t disclosed. The companies have fought since January over issues including store promotions and e-book discounting in a fray that has led to shortages of Simon & Schuster books at Barnes & Noble stores, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Barnes & Noble is considering splitting up its businesses after Chairman and founder Leonard Riggio said in February that he planned to make an offer for its 680 stores and website. The company also created a digital-media division last year with the possible goal of spinning it off.

Mary Ellen Keating, a spokeswoman for New York-based Barnes & Noble, declined to comment further on the statement yesterday.

Shares of the bookstore chain declined 5 percent to $16.67 at the close in New York, paring their gain for the year to 10 percent.

Simon & Schuster is among publishers that filed an objection in U.S. federal court on Aug. 7 to the government’s bid to force Apple Inc. to terminate existing contracts with them. They claimed the proposal would punish them by forcing Apple to find new ways of making deals with publishers to distribute e-books.

The publishers had previously settled an antitrust lawsuit with the U.S. Justice Department over pricing of electronic books.

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