Even E-books and readers gnaw away at what's left of the bricks-and-mortar book business, a move by Barnes and Noble's founder to buy those physical locations is doing little to calm industry nerves.
Leonard S. Riggio has announced his intention to bid on his chain's retail stores - including ours at Bethesda Row - and take them private. Standard and Poors estimates the stores' total value to be $1.3 billion. Riggio's announcement caused B&N stock to spike to $15.06 by yesterday's closing bell (it fell .15 in after hours trading).
The move would leave the Nook E-reader as its own business unit.
But the stores and Nook are both being destroyed by competitors like Amazon.
With little reason to believe that will change, stores like the Bethesda Row location face uncertainty.
Should the store close, the space could be filled. But the cafe-and-book-shop-in-Paris concept Bethesda Row's anchor tenant provided much of would be dealt a severe blow.
I'd expect the Bethesda store to be a last-resort closure, but the lack of a clear competitive strategy rightfully has industry analysts concerned about B&N's future in retail and cyberspace.