In February, Barnes & Noble (s BKS) said it wouldn’t carry Amazon (s AMZN) Publishing titles in its stores. “Our decision is based on Amazon’s continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent,” B&N chief merchandising officer Jaime Carey said in a statement at the time. Over half a year later, Amazon’s push for exclusive content continues, but it appears Barnes & Noble has capitulated: The nation’s largest bookstore chain is carrying books from Amazon’s New York-based imprint in its stores, despite the fact that it isn’t selling those titles as ebooks.
Kelly Burdick, the executive editor at independent publisher Melville House, noticed one of Amazon’s lead titles, the Penny Marshall memoir My Mother Was Nuts, in a Barnes & Noble store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side this weekend. Actually, not only was the book in stock, it was displayed on a table at the front of the store.
I used the “Pick Up In Store” feature on BN.com to check for other Amazon Publishing titles in Barnes & Noble’s NYC stores. My Mother Was Nuts is in stock at the five Barnes & Noble stores closest to me. Another Amazon Publishing title, Jessica Valenti’s Why Have Kids?, is in stock at two of five stores near me.
Why did Barnes & Noble capitulate? I’ve asked the company that question, but since I haven’t gotten a response from them yet, a few possibilities:
- Because Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is publishing and distributing the print versions of Amazon New York’s titles, maybe Barnes & Noble’s okay with carrying them. That was my theory back in January, but I figured I was wrong after Carey’s February statement that B&N wouldn’t carry the books in its stores.
- Because Amazon is making its New York ebooks available to other digital bookstores through distributor Ingram, maybe Barnes & Noble went with its earlier statement that it wouldn’t carry the print books in stores unless it also had access to the ebook editions. Oddly, though, Nook editions of Why Have Kids? and My Mother Was Nuts are still unavailable.
- A theory from Publishers Lunch news editor Sarah Weinman:
@laurahazardowen another theory: Valenti and Marshall are local authors; is that the case nation-wide? (Anastas is local too…)
— Sarah Weinman (@sarahw) October 1, 2012
So here’s your homework for today: Visit a Barnes & Noble store near you and see if you can find one of these books there.