Will B&N Survive?

Recently Len Riggio, chairman of B&N, sold 2 million of his shares. Does this mean he thinks the bookseller will follow Borders’ demise?

That’s unclear. Although any chairman who sells off massive amounts of stock usually seems to signal a lack of faith in the company, Riggio claims he did it for tax planning. It is the end of the year, after all.

Interestingly, he also donated 160,000 shares to The Riggio Foundation, a nonprofit that spent $20 million rebuilding homes in New Orleans. That could mean he wants the nonprofit to benefit from the shares. It could be too that he thinks the foundation can take that hit if the shares tank.

At this point, it’s clear that readers are turning to independent bookstores in numbers greater than ever. In part they recognize the value of hand-selling, and appreciate the service that comes from local, small stores. Between that and Amazon, B&N might have to revamp its approach or prepare for the end.

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