Bookseller Barnes & Noble has released its financial results for its first fiscal quarter of 2012, and while the company is still seeing sales dropping off in its traditional brick-and-mortar business, it’s Nook and ereading businesses are helping make up the gap. The company’s total sales for the first quarter were $1.4 billion, which is an overall 2 percent increase compared to the same period a year ago. Overall, sales at Barnes & Noble stores declined 3 percent to an even $1 billion, but the company say sales through BN.com increase 37 percent to $198 million, while the company’s consolidated Nook business blossomed to $227 million—an increase of 140 percent compared to last year.
“Our strategy of growing market share in the exploding digital content business while maximizing cash flow and EBITDA from our retail operations is paying off,” said Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch, in a statement. “We plan to continue investing in the significant growth areas of our business, and in fiscal 2012, we expect to see leverage as our digital sales growth is projected to exceed the growth of investment spend.”
Amazon’s Kindle line might still be the 800-pound gorilla in the ereading world, but Barnes & Noble’s Nook line—particularly the Android-running Nook color—have resonated with consumers. The Nook color is currently priced at $249; an E-ink Nook ereader runs $139. The Nook color’s competition doesn’t seem to be so much other ereader products as it is tablet devices, especially the Apple iPad. Although the Nook color is not as capable as full-fledged tablets, it also doesn’t carry the price of a full-fledged tablet—and it’ll do basic apps and Web surfing, which is enough for many people.
Looking forward, Barnes & Noble says it expects sales of digital content, accessories, and ereader hardware to double this fiscal year to a total of $1.8 billion.