Barnes & Noble will begin testing the sale of bundledprint books and e-books in the next 60 to 90 days, Barnes & Noble.compresident William Lynch said at yesterday's AAP annual meeting. Under the plan,B&N will offer customers who buy a print edition at one of their stores theopportunity to buy the e-book at a discount. Prices will be worked out indiscussions with publishers, Lynch said, adding that B&N's aim is to makethe transaction with consumers as seamless as possible.
Providing e-books and print book bundles is just one wayB&N hopes to use its retail footprint to increase sales of e-books whilemaintaining its lead position as the nation's largest bookseller, Lynch said.While he predicted there will be fewer bookstores in the future, he saidbookstores will never go away, agreeing with "interviewer" David Young ofHachette Book Group that bookstores are where bestsellers are made,particularly for books that are put in the front of the store. Still, Lynch andB&N remain bullish on both the long-term and short-term prospects fore-books, and Lynch said that with some publishers B&N works with e-bookscould account for 7% to 8% of sales this year and at a few publishers e-booksales could represent 10% of sales.
B&N is also a strong proponent of print-on-demand, Lynchsaid, noting that publishers would be surprised if they knew the amount of podbusiness B&N does. He said at some point it could be possible to put a podmachine directly into a store, providing the store "was big enough." He wouldalso not rule out the possibility that B&N could make a "small acquisition"in the technology field if it fit with its digital plans.