The retailer is arguing that its stores serve as the primary way for consumers to discover new writers, say people familiar with the situation. The retailer worries that consumers use its stores as "showrooms" to find titles that they then order online at a discounted price, the people said.
"We do not comment on specific relationships with publishers. However, we do support those publishers who support our physical and digital businesses," Barnes & Noble said in a statement.
The showrooming argument *and* the discovery myth. A two-fer.
One could argue they are blatantly asking for payola except payola is already the standard in B&M retailing so what they are arguing over is how much of B&N's overhead S&S must subsidize for B&N to bother with their midlist.
The dispute holds risks for both sides. Simon & Schuster is losing sales and promotions at the biggest book chain in the U.S. While the retailer is still carrying the publisher's biggest books in quantity, titles by lesser-known authors have been cut sharply, said the people familiar with the matter. Orders for some titles have been reduced by as much as 90%, according to one literary agent.
For Barnes & Noble, the dispute could cause customers who can't find the books they want to instead shop online at Amazon.com Inc.
This could get interesting: A new two-tier retailing model emerging? One that would make the mid-list even *less* profitable for the BPHs?
"Bestsellers we'll stock for free but the dinky mid-list you'll have to pay us to carry."
I notice there is no thought given to the possibility that customers might buy from B&N.com... Gotta wonder if the WSJ even knows B&N has an online pbook store. Or maybe they know something...?
I guess B&N really *is* facing hard times: they've gone Crazy Eddie...
The only thing that distinguishes them from Costco is the midlist so, *of course* they threaten to stop carrying midlist titles.
Vintage Crazy Eddie.