July 15, 2016

Barnes and Noble teams up with publisher of failed movie scripts, anticipates great success


A few weeks ago we covered Barnes and Noble’s most recent round of fiscal reporting, and although the news was a little grim, corporate leadership at the retail giant remained upbeat. Along with the report, B&N CEO Ron Boire gave this cheerful statement: “As we look ahead to fiscal 2017 and beyond, we are focusing on executing a number of initiatives to grow bookstore and online sales, reduce Retail and NOOK expenses and grow our Membership base.”

It hasn’t taken long for some of those initiatives to roll out. We’ve previously covered the bookish retailer’s foray into the hospitality industry. But that, ladies and gentlemen, was only the tip of the iceberg. What other brilliant maneuvers, what balletic leaps and pivots can we look forward to now? Two words: lip gloss. Also paperback rehashes of failed Hollywood scripts.

Let’s unpack that.

Last week, Racked reported that Barnes and Noble College was selectively rolling out a dedicated sub-store of sorts called The Glossary (ooof). The Glossary stocks upscale beauty products and is openly modeled off of Sephora, which, it turns out, Barnes and Noble had propositioned for a collaboration several years ago. Racked quotes Joel Friedman, vice president and chief merchandising officer for Barnes & Noble College as saying, “I’ve always been intrigued by the success of Sephora. We actually had some dialogue with them a number of years ago to see if they wanted to explore coming into our store and creating a store within a store…”

So, there’s that!

B&N and other large book retailers have been transitioning to a more merchandise-based model for years, and the Glossary is in some ways just a particularly odd symptom of that general trend. So in some ways the other initiative, which does actually involve books, is actually stranger.

Publishers Weekly reported earlier this week that B&N has also announced an exclusive partnership with Adaptive Studios, which publishes book adaptations of failed Hollywood movie scripts. According to the PW article, the partnership will be an extension of the companies Page to Screen program, which highlights titles that have been successfully adapted to films.

What could go wrong?



Simon Reichley is the Director of Operations and Rights Manager at Melville House.