B&N’s Daunt: ‘Books Are Essential’ (publishersweekly.com)

While total sales have fallen slightly since the outbreak of the new coronavirus at Barnes & Noble, company CEO James Daunt is confident the bookstore chain can continue to be a profitable venture with one provision—that it is allowed to keep its stores open.

“If the U.S. goes the way of Italy and France, that would be difficult to overcome,” Daunt said, referring to the decision in those countries to close down all but essential businesses. To Daunt, books and bookstores should be considered vital businesses. “Books are crucial during this period,” Daunt said, noting that they provide both education and diversions for people stuck at home. “People are buying lots of books.”

Since the virus outbreak, sales of children’s books have been very strong, Daunt said, especially in education-related areas. In fact, sales for the entire core book business are up, although those gains have been offset by a plunge in cafe business and decline in some other non-book areas.

Online sales have also risen dramatically, Daunt said. He noted that in the U.K., Waterstones (for which Daunt is also the CEO) had its biggest online sales day on March 18, and that he expects online sales to keep increasing in the U.S. as well. Even with those gains, however, the online side of the business “could never make up for the loss if all the stores are forced to close,” Daunt said.
more at source: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/82748-b-n-s-daunt-books-are-essential.html

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