Community support is a critical factor in the resurgence of Barnes and Noble. Ironically the independent bookstores that were threatened by the rise of the big box B&N and Borders stores over a decade ago are now leading indicators of the future of B&N. Sales at independent bookstores are rising(8% y-o-y) due to a number of factors including the demise of Borders, the tepid economic recovery with limited discretionary income, and a decline in the novelty of reading a book on a tablet. It appears that e-book sales can grow along with the sales of printed books.
"I think the worst days of the independents are behind them," says Jim Milliot of Publishers Weekly magazine. "The demise of traditional print books has been a bit overblown. Everybody is a little anxious, but they are starting to think they've figured it out for the time being."
How does this benefit Barnes & Noble? Oddly, B&N stores are now key local resources and are no longer seen as the enemy of the local bookstore...they are the local bookstores.