Originally Posted by markbot
If digital books takeover, who's buying books at the store?
See, that is a big leap.
Digital books aren't taking over 100% of the market.
So far, it's 50% in most genres with some expectations of 60% in the near future.
So there will be likely always be a market for pbooks.
The problem is how *big* a market and for what kinds of books? And that the most profitable parts of the market are what's moving to digital and what remains may not be enough to support B&N in the "style they've become accustomed to", as they say in divorce court.
The bulk of the profits for the big stores has traditionally come from the high volume bestsellers and genre fiction. Once the general retailers started undercutting everybody that left genre sales as the source of volume. That is where ebooks hurt pbook retailing: in sucking out the volume and reducing the revenue per square foot of the big stores.
With lower volumes of books, B&N tried using floorspace for other, non-book products. So far, that isn't working. And it seems to be annoying at least some customers.
The next logical step is to reduce floorspace altogether, to match the expected volume of pbook sales. But that is easier said than done because of the leases. The exact same problem that sunk Borders.
What they need to do is close as many big stores as possible while at the same time opening much smaller stores.
Basically, over the last ten years B&N zigged when they should've zagged; they shut down the B.Dalton mall stores when they should have been modernizing and expanding the chain instead of the big warehouses, which they should have been shutting down.
Hindsight is 20-20, of course.