Earlier last week, Barnes and Noble posted some not-so-positive news about their sales numbers. According to the New York Times, “The bookseller said revenue for the Nook unit – including e-readers, digital content and accessories – fell 12.6 percent, to $311 million, during the holiday shopping season, compared with the period a year earlier. Digital content sales rose 13.1 percent, while sales of Nook devices declined.” The Nook devices sold well during Black Friday, but apparently there was a shortfall in the estimated December sales. Read more about this here.
Why does this matter for agents? In an environment with so few brick and mortal retailers, the best hopes for competition in book sales come from the online environment. With one of the strongest e-retailers falling nearly 13% in sales from last year, agents need to keep thinking about just what this means for their authors in particular and the industry in general. B&N, of course, believes that their digital content sales will raise profits in 2013, but agents should keep a careful eye on statements and know, to the extent they can, from where their authors’ sales are coming.