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Thursday, August 21, 2008

GRUDGE MATCH: Barnes & Noble vs. the Olympics

Barnes & Noble reported its second quarter financial results today, and in no surprise to me, sales are down. The report largely blames America's weak economy for slipping sales. You can read about the report on Reuters.

However, there is also an article on Yahoo! News regarding the report, and something buried way down in the text caught my eye:
"Barnes & Noble also said it received less store traffic during telecasts for the Olympics this month."
I couldn't find this confirmed anywhere else in a cursory search, though I think the reason for that is it was reported on a webcast conference call of B&N's senior management this morning, the transcript of which you have to pay $39 to download. I appreciate each and every one of you readers, but I have no intention of paying $39 to confirm a very odd comment in a Yahoo! article.

I know marketing executives make a living drawing correlations like that - oh yes, all of our customers are simply watching the Olympics, too distracted by sports to even think about book browsing - but sometimes they just make me laugh.

I've been enjoying reading about the Olympics more than I've enjoyed watching the Olympics, mostly because I'm never home when the good Olympics coverage comes on and instead I keep catching random qualifying heats and early round matches of badminton.

I did, however, catch Usain Bolt's crazy fast 100 meter dash. Now, that would solve Barnes & Noble's Olympic troubles - if we could all run as fast as Bolt, we could be off to the bookstore at the starting gun of the commercial break and be back on the couch with our brand new books in time for Bob Costas to say "Welcome back to Beijing."


stu said...

Why is it you can never quite find the events at the Olympics that you really want to watch. I wanted to watch Podzniakov attempt to take the men's sabre (but he went out in the 32) but for some reason the BBC thought that rowing was a better bet. Something to do with us winning medals in it or something.

Stephanie said...

Yeah, I feel you, Stu. It's these times I start regretting not having TiVo or the like... but then I'd have waaaay too much TV to watch. Better just to miss it.

Anonymous said...

I've tried the whole TiVo approach to the Olympics. Turns out you just pile up hours and hours of events you'll never get to watch. Like one of these days I *am* going to watch all that Badminton. My high school has the longest recorded winning streak in history... in Badminton of all things. Gooooo shuttlecock!

Jessica said...

It's acknowledged that an election year means that book sales will be slower, because everyone's too focused on the election to go out and spend in general. So why not with the Olympics too? It's probably true.