July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Turmoil at Barnes & Noble Inc.,
where Chief Executive Officer William Lynch resigned last week
after the company posted an unexpectedly large loss in the
quarter ended April 30, has people in the publishing industry
worried. “We’re all forced to ask: What would the book
discovery environment look like without Barnes & Noble?” writes
Rich Fahle, a former Borders executive who runs a marketing
agency for authors.
The question zeroes in on a growing problem for the U.S.
book industry. Although readers increasingly purchase books
online, they still rely on physical bookstores to discover what
to buy. In-store displays are the most common way, after
personal recommendations, that frequent buyers find new books,
accounting for about 20 percent of purchases, according to a
survey by the Codex Group. Yet brick-and-mortar stores are
disappearing, as customers defect to the convenience and, in
many cases, lower prices of Amazon.com Inc.