leonard riggio

Goodbye Books? Barnes & Noble Downsizing

Barnes & Noble and Liberty Media jointly announced yesterday morning that Liberty Media has cut its 17% stake in the bookstore to a roughly 2% holding. That, of course, is not good news for fans of physical books. Barnes & Noble is the most popular book store currently in circulation and this cut is going to dramatically affect the print industry outside of Amazon. “By reducing our preferred position and eliminating some of our related rights, Barnes & Noble will gain greater flexibility to accomplish their strategic objectives,” Greg Maffei, Liberty’s president and CEO, said Thursday morning. Those ‘strategic options’ have yet to be clarified and many are wondering if the current strategy is to focus on eBooks and online sales.

“Liberty Media has been a strong supporter of the company and Greg Maffei and Mark Carleton have been and continue to be tremendous partners at an important time in the Company’s history,” Leonard Riggio, Barnes & Noble chairman, said Thursday morning. “Liberty’s decision to retain a portion of its investment and have active involvement on our board underscores Liberty’s ongoing commitment to Barnes & Noble.“