As we have every quarter for the last several, we’re looking at Barnes & Noble’s recent quarterly report to gauge the trends that are impacting the book industry – which books were big over the last few months and what’s expected for the months ahead.
Sales dipped by -5% from a year ago for the quarter ended August 1st, consistent with the declines seen in prior quarters. “Store traffic was down throughout the quarter,” according to CFO Joseph Lombardi.
As has been the case as the company has focused more on the tough economy and other aspects of the business, there wasn’t much discussion of individual titles this year.
What follows are insights gleaned from Lombardi and Barnes and Noble CEO Steve Riggio’s comments on the conference call discussing Q1 results.
Lombardi pointed out that the same quarter a year ago had big sellers in Stephanie Meyers The Host, Barbara Walters Audition, and Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture, while sales from “bestsellers were lower this year.”
According to Lombardi, “the fall lineup looks fairly strong, with Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol being the big third quarter title.”
Barnes and Noble is pushing hard to get on the ebook bandwagon. Riggio said, “The most important development of the quarter was the launch of our e-bookstore on July 20th,” adding that the company had the “top two most downloaded apps in the iTunes store… our e-reader app, which continues to be the number one book app, and the Barnes & Noble bookstore app, which enables customers to browse, search, and snap photos of… covers of products and to buy them with ease.”
Riggio also outlined efforts to get more titles into the e-bookstore, along with a selection of newspapers and magazines, the unmentioned target being the Amazon Kindle store which has surged to a big lead in offering a large number of titles.