In a move that will likely only hurt Barnes & Noble, the bookseller has decided to no longer stock 100 DC graphic novel titles in its brick and mortar stores after word that DC Entertainment stuck a deal with Amazon to offer that same content exclusively to the new Kindle Fire tablet.
Barnes & Noble made the decision after claiming their mission is to offer its products in all formats, and that they will not stock books on their shelves that customers can't also get electronically. While this might seem like sound reasoning on the surface, it has a bit of a childish undertone, which was reinforced by DC's statement:
"We are disappointed that Barnes & Noble has made the decision to remove these books off their shelves and make them unavailable to their customers. DC Entertainment will continue to make our content available to our fans and new readers through multiple distribution channels including independent bookstores, locally owned comic book retailers and other widespread means such as online through Amazon and through our apps on iOS and select Android-powered devices as well as new and exciting devices going forward."
In effect, Barnes & Noble winds up looking like the idiot here. Their move amounts to nothing more than a speck of dust on DC's bottom line, say nothing of Amazon, who probably said, "Barnes & who?"
While Barnes & Noble's petulant foot stomp will certainly rock nobody at the top of the food chain, it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete with the behemoth that is Amazon, and Barnes & Noble is probably looking for any edge it can get. The Android-driven Kindle Fire is predicted to be the one thing that could put a huge dent in the sale of Apple's iPads, and it will probably put a serious whopping on Barnes & Noble's Nook Color tablets, which had long been the only decent game in town when it came to low-priced color e-readers. The Nook's draw will likely remain steady among hardcore nerds who enjoy hacking the device, but the Kindle Fire is cheaper and more powerful than the Nook Color, and it comes equipped with access to Amazon's growing app store. It will certainly have more mainstream appeal.
Barnes & Noble does plan to announce a new Nook Color sometime this month, and many are speculating what the company will do in order to stay afloat in the increasingly cut-throat device and e-book market. But withholding content from its brick and mortar shelves in an act of protest against Amazon is not the answer. Amazon certainly has no reason to worry about the small fish right now. The ball is in Barnes & Noble's court to come up with a revolutionary plan that will draw more customers in, not exclude them.