Borders is in trouble. But this is not a sign that Barnes & Noble will soon be a monopoly of the bookselling trade. Quite the opposite: Barnes & Noble is also just hanging on by a thread to a business model and medium that are quickly being overtaken by e-books, blogs, and other new media. Yes, I know Barnes & Noble has its own e-reader, but that doesn’t mean it knows how to sell e-books. But the company does have some life left in its veins, which is why John Malone’s Liberty Media just offered $1 billion to buy 70% of the company. Liberty Media is offering a 20% premium over BN stock’s current valuation to sweeten the deal.
So, what do you think Liberty Media will do with Barnes & Noble? I expect they will shed old management and do something radical to make use of the bookstore chain’s influence and market penetration while it still has these assets. I’m thinking Apple Store meets brick and mortar app store meets Barnes & Noble. What do you think? Is Liberty going to change the bookselling world in a matter of months?
UPDATE: Liberty media has just confirmed it made its bid for Barnes & Noble because of the Nook e-reader and BN’s retail outlets. Apple store-style bookselling, here we come!