Last week, B& debuted Barnes & Noble Studio, a new multimedia section and two weekly video series, at The section's goal, said Mike Skagerlind, v-p and head of digital media for Barnes &, is to give visitors to the site another way to browse authors and titles “they wouldn't have otherwise discovered.”

Skagerlind, who joined B&N last September after 12 years at Nickelodeon, said the company knows from observing its customers' behavior that the more time they spend in a B&N store, the more likely they are to buy something. “There's a similar dynamic online,” he noted. The new Web video series, Barnes & Noble Tagged! and Book Obsessed, highlight specific books and introduce viewers to everyday readers around the country. Skagerlind called them “a way to entertain and inform” visitors to B& There are links on the video pages so customers can buy a book with one click, but Skagerlind insisted, “We're not trying to make this a hard sell. This content is there to help stimulate people, to help them decide what to buy.”

In addition to featuring the two new videos, Barnes & Noble Studio gives visitors to the site another way to access other web content the company has already created and launched, including Upstairs at the Square, Live from B&N and Barnes & Noble Book Clubs.

Skagerlind would not pinpoint how much money the company has invested in developing its Web site, only saying “It's enough to make a difference.” However, the way the company is producing Web video content is “economically sensible.”

Also last week, B&N announced sales for 2007 and a tepid forecast for 2008 (see chart).

Barnes & Noble Sales, Forecast (in millions)

Sales Comp-store Change Total Change
2008 Forecast: Comparable store sales to be slightly positive in an uncertain economic environment.
* Excludes extra week in 2006.
** Includes Dalton, Sterling, Calendar Club
Superstores $4,648 1.8%* 4.3%*
B& 477 13.4* -
Other** 286
Total 5,411 - 2.8*