|WILL STORES SUCH AS THIS VANISH?|
Barnes & Noble, the country’s largest book chain with 720 stores, said that its board believed the stock was “significantly undervalued” and that it had set up a special committee to review its options.
There is believed to have been a gradual decline in people reading over the last twenty years, but the biggest challenge to traditional stores has come from online retailers such as Amazon and Apple, as well as the growing shift towards eBooks. But Barnes & Noble has made efforts to adapt to the changing landscape. Last year, it announced that it had acquired Fictionwise, an online e-book retailer. In March, the company promoted William Lynch, then the head of its Web division, to chief executive, signaling that it was pouring its efforts into the growing digital side of the business.
It has tried to compete with Amazon and Apple in the e-reader market by opening its own e-bookstore last summer, and by introducing its own device, the Nook.