The business side of books dominated headlines this week. At Perseus Books Group, a “For Sale” has returned to its front lawn, after it went away a little over a year ago. At Barnes & Noble, the most recent quarterly sales report makes for grim reading material.
Indeed, it’s no surprise that the book business faces challenges on many fronts. CEOs like PBG’s David Steinberger and newly-hired Ron Boire at B&N calculate their moves based on accountants’ figures. Those numbers are apparently driving the two companies in possibly opposite directions.
“Perseus officials this week said they have ‘initiated a formal process to explore a potential sale of the business.’ Perseus has hired an investment firm to oversee the process and CEO David Steinberger told PW the company has received multiple inquiries expressing interest,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer “On June 30, Steinberger had thanked the staff for helping to re-energize Perseus, and noted that the company had beaten its financial goals and set numerous performance records.”
Quite another matter, though, for Barnes & Noble, who reported total revenue fell in their first quarter by 1.5 percent over last year, while net losses increased to $34.9 million, from $28.4 million a year ago, according to Albanese.
“These results included sales and earnings from Barnes & Noble’s college division, which was spun off into a separate company the day after the close of the quarter,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “In a prepared statement, B&N CFO Allen Lindstrom said that the company plans to further reduce Nook expenses through ‘synergies with the retail business.’ On the plus side, B&N officials said they expect that, for the remainder of fiscal 2016, core comp sales will rise by 1% and that losses for Nook will decline.”
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.