Fresh on the heels of bookseller Borders filing for bankruptcy, Barnes & Noble has announced its latest financial results, which cover its third fiscal quarter of 2011. Although the company saw a significant dip in profits compared to the same quarter last year, the bookstore is making a bold claim: according to CEO William Lynch, Barnes & Noble now accounts for 25 percent of the U.S. ebook market. That’s a larger share of the company’s share of the U.S. physical book market, and Barnes & Noble says it’s selling twice as many ebooks as physical books in any format from its online store.
“We’re pleased with our financial results this quarter, but just as importantly, the third quarter was another big quarter for the company from the standpoint of key strategic progress that positions us well for the future,” said CEO William Lynch, in a statement.
Barnes & Noble’s claim that it accounts for the quarter of the U.S. ebook market is hard to substantiate: neither Barnes & Noble nor Amazon publish any specific sales figures. However, last year Barnes & Noble claimed it had about 20 percent of the U.S. eBook market while Amazon.com claimed it accounted for 70 to 80 percent, and no other ebook sellers stepped forward to contradict those figures.
The financial quarter wasn’t all roses for Barnes & Noble, however: although the company did see its revenue increase 7 percent to $2.3 billion for the quarter and say at 64 percent increase in sales from the Barnes & Noble Web site, net earnings were down 25 percent to $60.6 million and the company will be canceling its shareholder dividend to invest money back into building out its Nook platform and digital services.
Speaking with analysts, Lynch indicates that the company believes its retail locations are an important factor in selling Nook e-readers, and that the company might consider moving into some locations being closed down by Borders.