Barnes & Noble stocking its own books
Barnes and Noble, which along with Border's dominates the retail book industry, announced recently that it was going to issue a new line of classic books, which will compete with Penguin's Classics (Pearson PLC) and Modern Library (Bertelsmann). This expands an already existing collection of books published and sold by the retailer. Over 100 new titles are expected by next summer.
According to sources, 4% of Barnes and Noble's sales come from books it publishes itself. The company also bought last winter Sterling, a publisher of how-to books. It clearly hopes to knock up that percentage.
This strategy is in parallel with those of other oligopolies. Chains like Wal-Mart and Safeway sell their own house brands in competition with those of Kraft and Coca Cola. Dell Computer just announced that it will sell its own-brand printers (manufactured by Lexmark). .More and more, TV networks are producing the shows that they put on the air. The potential profits are high with no middlemen, the marketing costs are low, and the shelf space is assured, at least if a profit can be made.
Barnes and Noble CEO Steve Riggio is quoted as saying that the market for classic books is tens of millions of dollars.
He is also reportedly said “This isn't about replacing other books, it's about adding ,and getting our customers interested in the classics.” Sorry Mr. Riggio, you know that retail is a zero-sum game. If your books get on the shelves, others will have to go. You are not planning add to add a new wing to each of your stores, are you? [Oligopoly Watch]