Barnes & Noble’s Success Shocker

In Barnes & Noble’s recent history, a quarter with no catastrophic losses counts as a pretty good time, and the earnings report from Barnes & Noble yesterday (March 3) was one without any major disasters. Overall retail was still down — off 1.8 percent from the same quarter a year ago — but toys and games (an increased area of focus for the chain) was up 12.5 percent. Adult coloring books and vinyl records are both apparently big sellers.

Also performing for the chain are paperbacks, which seem to be gaining ground on the eBooks that were once widely forecasted to be their downfall. EBook sales fell 12.3 percent, while paperback sales grew by 12.4 percent. Bookstore sales were also on the rise, up 2.5 percent, growing to $11.17 billion, up from $10.89 billion in 2014. That represents the first growth in bookstore sales since 2007.

All in, the total number of B&N stores in the U.S. is 640, with eight scheduled to close. That is the lowest number of store closures in the last 16 years.