Andrew AlbaneseIf it’s a surprise to you that the retail print book business is struggling, then you should read this week’s New Republic. Writer Alex Shepherd reports there his discovery that Barnes & Noble is operating at a loss. Should this trend continue, he warns, the outcome would be catastrophic for readers.

Of course, book lovers have watched the decline of bookstores for years. For that predicament, Barnes & Noble bears a good share of the blame, says Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.

“Many in the media love to bash Amazon—and with reason, I agree—but before there was Amazon, Barnes & Noble was the locus of publisher frustration,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“Throughout the 1990s, when I was a book editor, it seemed like the marketing director’s sole job was to tell me what Barnes & Noble would – and would not – allow me to publish.

“It’s ironic, that a young reporter in 2016 would be defending the company that many blame for destroying the vibrant patchwork of indie book stores in the United States, and that did so by pushing publishers toward sensational, commercial, mass-market books.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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