Barnes & Noble Finds New Revenue Streams

August 21, 2009

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With the financial performance of major booksellers suggesting significant declines in the reading rates of U.S. adults, book retailer Barnes & Noble has recently invested in new sales avenues such as e-books and college textbooks. Now Barnes & Noble is turning to out-of-print titles as a means of creating a new revenue stream, according to

According to Publishers Weekly, Barnes & Noble is launching a new imprint dedicated to publishing new hardcover versions of out-of-print titles, called Barnes & Noble Rediscovers. Barnes & Noble is initially releasing 33 hardcover titles, priced between $9.95 and $14.95, under the Rediscovers imprint and plans to release electronically-formatted versions of its Rediscovers titles in the future. The retailer will include customer feedback and online customer behavioral data as criteria for selecting books to publish through Rediscovers.

Two of Barnes & Noble’s main online competitors, Amazon and Google, are running similar programs designed to boost sales of overlooked and/or out-of-print titles. Online retailer Amazon is returning to its roots as a web-based bookstore with a new service called AmazonEncore. Through AmazonEncore, Amazon uses customer-generated information such as customer book reviews to identify overlooked books and authors it believes have greater sales potential.

After identifying a book it believes to be underperforming, Amazon will provide marketing and distribution support to promote it through multiple channels and platforms including audiobooks and e-books, as well as traditional sales vehicles such as the Amazon e-commerce site and independent third-party book retailers.

Google also has a program in place that enables publishers to provide it with digital files of new and out-of-print books. Users can search up to 20% of the books’ content, then follow links from Google to online retailers to buy them. But under a recently proposed e-book retail program, users will be able to purchase them directly from Google.

Separately from its e-book retail program for new titles, Google has already availed 1.5 million (mostly out-of-print and public domain) books to searchers and mobile phone users.


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