The decision to pull Sterling Publishing off the sales block for the time being could be part of Barnes & Noble’s larger strategy about what it plans to do with its Nook and bookselling assets, industry insiders say. B&N had a few offers for Sterling, but the highest was for only about one-quarter of the $126 million the bookstore chain paid for the publishing company. Given the low offers, B&N executives may have felt they are just as well served by keeping the publishing unit.

Sources said B&N could decide within 60 to 90 days about how it will handle its Nook business with sentiment favoring spinning off the digital operation. In early January the company said that it was considering its options for the Nook business, and hoped to complete the evaluation by the close of its fiscal year, which is at the end of April.