Archive十月 2018

B&N Counter-Sues Former CEO Parneros

B&N Counter-Sues Former CEO Parneros Barnes & Noble Lawsuit

The latest chapter in the three-month-old soap opera which began with B&N firing CEO Demos Parneros arrived today in the form of a counter-suit.

From Reuters:

Barnes & Noble Inc on Tuesday filed a countersuit seeking damages from the former chief executive officer it fired in part because of claims he sexually harassed a female employee.

The largest U.S. bookstore chain said Demos Parneros breached his duties of loyalty and good faith by sexually harassing the female employee, bullying subordinates, and attempting to “sabotage” a potential sale of the New York-based company.

In its countersuit, Barnes & Noble said Parneros’ lawsuit “downplays what occurred,” and that the company should recoup his salary, bonus and other benefits during the period of his “disloyal conduct” and cancel his outstanding equity awards.

Barnes & Noble said the female employee reported two incidents in which Parneros allegedly subjected her to unwanted touching or comments of a sexual nature.

It said that in the second incident, Parneros allegedly pulled the employee toward him so their faces touched, and as she tried to pull away he said she seemed like someone who “would put out” if he “wined and dined” her.

Barnes & Noble also said Parneros derailed a takeover that would have cost him the CEO role, after portraying the company as an “ugly mess” that had “no realistic prospects for success” in a June meeting with executives of the potential acquirer.

According to the countersuit, Barnes & Noble has received “additional complaints about Parneros’ inappropriate behavior toward women” at the company since his termination. Barnes & Noble declined to elaborate.

Parneros has denied B&N’s allegations.

What an utter mess – exactly what B&N doesn’t need right now.

Whether or not the allegations are true (the situation is so muddled that at this point picking a side  says more about one’s biases than the case) this case is the exact opposite of what B&N needs right now.

B&N needs to portray the image of competence and professionalism so as to allay fears about its downward spiral. Instead, this case makes the senior management look like jackasses. It is putting the question in everyone’s head that if B&N can’t even manage to fire its CEO without causing a scene, can we really trust them to run a company?

That is not the question you should want your creditors asking.

image by jjbers via Flickr

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Infographic: Top Ten Book Titles, As Recommended by Librarians

Infographic: Top Ten Book Titles, As Recommended by Librarians humor Infographic

Names are important. Choose the wrong name for a book or series and you can kill its sales before it even reaches the market. This is why it is so critical to find out what readers think when they read a title, and what words they use when talking about it.

Guess what? I can help you with that. The Digital Reader has just completed an extensive survey where we asked librarians to list the most commonly requested book titles. We will soon publish a report on this topic, but in the meantime here is a sampling of our results.

If you use one of these titles for your next book, it will be the first result that comes up when someone searches for the name.

  1. I Saw A Dragon on the Cover

  2. That One About Werewolves

  3. Sexy Vampires

  4. It Had Spaceships?

  5. I Heard About It On the Radio

  6. Oprah Liked It

  7. There was a Woman on the Cover – I Think She Had a Sword?

  8. They Went on a Trip

  9. It Was Blue

  10. People Died

Infographic: Top Ten Book Titles, As Recommended by Librarians humor Infographic

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Morning Coffee – 29 October 2018

Morning Coffee - 29 October 2018 Morning Coffee

Here are a few stories to read this Monday morning.

 

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Walmart is Actually Selling eBooks in Stores, But Still Doesn’t Give a Crap About Selling eBooks

Earlier today I had the good fun of exhibiting at a local writer’s workshop (Back on Track, held in downtown Manassas, VA). On my way there I stopped at my other local Walmart to pick up the requisite candy and scout the ebook display.

A couple weeks ago I found an apparently abandoned ebook display at the Walmart in Woodbridge, and this morning I spied an equally neglected display at the Manassas Walmart. Whoever set up this display didn’t install the mounts for the display ereaders or even bother to apply the pricing stickers.

Walmart is Actually Selling eBooks in Stores, But Still Doesn't Give a Crap About Selling eBooks Kobo Retail

Walmart clearly doesn’t care about selling ebooks, which is utterly astounding given the fact that people are buying them.

Yes, this display was visibly low on cards. One might think the cards were simply spread out or possibly taken and abandoned, but no, Walmart’s system had noted the sale of the cards and responded by shipping out new stock.

Alas, no one was bothering to put the new stock on the hooks:

Walmart is Actually Selling eBooks in Stores, But Still Doesn't Give a Crap About Selling eBooks Kobo Retail

I don’t know what is more amazing, that Walmart is actually selling ebooks in its stores or that it still doesn’t give a damn. This is a viable business model, and Walmart is still doing its best to make sure that the idea dies in the cradle.

It’s almost enough to make you think it’s intentional, isn’t it?

You just finished reading Walmart is Actually Selling eBooks in Stores, But Still Doesn’t Give a Crap About Selling eBooks which was published on The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee – 26 October 2018

Morning Coffee - 26 October 2018 Morning Coffee

Here are a few stories to read this Friday morning.

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Morning Coffee – 24 october 2018

Morning Coffee - 24 october 2018 Morning Coffee

Here are a few stories to read this Wednesday morning.

  • Italy may be the linchpin that defeats the EU’s absurd new copyright laws.
  • The first step in getting someone to buy your book is to get their attention. The Book Designer lays out a few ways to do that. 
  • An Australian gov’t agency is now saying I have said repeatedly, that there is no value to using blockchain in anything

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B&N Hires Pricy Consultants to “Advise” on “Selling the Company”

B&N Hires Pricy Consultants to "Advise" on "Selling the Company" Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble continued its scheme to convince everyone that it had serious buyers today. This morning they announced they had hired expensive consultants.

Barnes & Noble today announced that its previously-announced Special Committee of the Board of Directors assigned to evaluate strategic alternatives for the Company has selected Evercore as its financial advisor and Baker Botts L.L.P. as its legal advisor.

The formation of a Special Committee was announced on October 3, after the Company disclosed expressions of interests from multiple parties, including its Chairman Leonard Riggio.

All expressions of interest or inquiries are being directed to Anthony Magro and John Kimm of Evercore.

I do not know what game B&N is playing at here, but I seriously doubt that they have real offers to sell the company. If they did then they would have accepted one by now.

I also can’t imagine who would want to buy this failing retailer. Remember, there was an offer to buy B&N back when Parneros was CEO. That deal fell through after the buyer got a look at Barnes & Noble’s books. (Parneros alleges this failed deal is why he got fired).

Just about the only potential buyer at this point would be vulture funds who want to sell B&N off for parts, and I don’t see the B&N board taking that deal.

image by frankieleon via Flickr

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How Long Until Amazon Realizes That Not All Kindles Have E-ink Screens?

How Long Until Amazon Realizes That Not All Kindles Have E-ink Screens? e-Reading Hardware

When Amazon launched their first Android tablet in 2011, they called it the Kindle Fire. That may have been a mistake, because while Amazon stopped calling its Android tablets the “Kindle Fire” in 2014, the public has not.

A recent conversation has reminded me that even though Amazon and the tech blogosphere refers to these products as Fire tablets, the public does not. The common name for Amazon’s tablets is “Kindle” not “Fire”.

Let me give you a few examples:

  • When the Fredericksburg Book Festival announced they were giving away door prizes, the email said “Kindle” when the prizes were in fact Fire HD 8 tablets.
  • When the Indies Unlimited blog published a post about sideloading ebooks on the Kindle, their screenshots all showed references to Fire tablets.
  • When I brought my Kobo Forma to a lunch meeting, one of the attendees talked about reading email and browsing the web on their second-gen Kindle from 2012.
  • When I was emailing with the A Forever Home dog rescue about donating a a Kindle for a raffle, their phrasing made it clear that what they really expected was a Kindle running Android.

Every time I have talked to a member of the public about Amazon’s Android tablets, that person referred to the tablets as Kindles.

Every time.

It has happened so often that I don’t correct anyone, and I don’t even wince. Instead, I’ve taken the descriptivist’s opinion that language is defined by use, and if everyone uses a word a certain way then that is what it means.

Thus, Amazon has Kindles with LCD screens that run Android.

How long do you think it’s going to be until Amazon changes their branding to reflect common usage?

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Morning Coffee – 22 October 2018

Morning Coffee - 22 October 2018 Morning Coffee

Here are a few stories to read this Monday morning.

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