Does Barnes & Noble even need bricks & mortar?

RetailWire panelists commented this week on B&N’s announced wave of store closings over the next several years. This raises the question of whether Barnes even needs a brick-and-mortar presence. I argue that it’s essential to B&N’s brand identity:

Without brick-and-mortar stores, Barnes & Noble doesn’t have a future. There are simply too many other top-of-mind places to buy e-books (Amazon of course, but also Apple) for B&N to keep any sort of meaningful share without a physical footprint.

There is some evidence that bookstores’ business is starting to revive, at least for some independent booksellers. If the only company with a national presence can’t figure out how to compete, who can? And if weeding out some unproductive locations helps B&N survive, it’s a good move.

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