Total revenue at Barnes & Noble fell 5.3% in the second quarter ended August 1, to $1.16 billion. Sales at B&N’s stores fell 5% in the quarter, to $1.0 billion, with same store sales off 6.9%; B&N had expected comp sales to fall between 5% and 7% in the period. Sales at Barnes & improved after a weak first quarter, increasing 2%, to $102 million. Net income from continuing operations fell 26.8%, to $12.3 million.

In a statement, CEO Steve Riggio said the decline in retail traffic continues to be the major factor behind the decline in sales. He noted that expense management helped to bring in earnings per share near the top end of the retailer’s forecast.

The company sees business getting marginally better in the third quarter with comp sales predicted to decline 1% to 3% during the period, which will include the release of the likely megaseller The Lost Symbol. For the full year, same store sales are expects to fall 3% to 5%. B&N said it will issue updated guidance after the pending purchase of B&N College Booksellers closes around October 1.

For the first half of 2009, total revenue at the company declined 4.9%, to $2.26 billion, and net income from continuing operations fell 36.4%, to $10.3 million.

Riggio called the launch of B&N's e-bookstore the highlight of the quarter, saying that the store has been well received buy customer, although no figures were disclosed. He said by the end of the year there will be "well over" 1 million titles available through the e-bookstore, including all copyrighted books plus a "massive amount" of public domain titles from Google and elsewhere. B&N will also add newspapers, magazines and bloggers and will eventually offer "millions of more titles" online than through is physical stores, Riggio said.