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Waterstones may have avoided a digital commitment, or as some would suggested merely handed over their customers naively to Amazon. Barnes and Noble may have bitten more digital technology that they could deliver and taken too long to realise that the Nook market didn’t stop at the Eastern seaboard. But in both cases it isn’t too late to harness the goodwill and brands that remain, but it will take hard decisions such as experienced in the oil industry in the 80s and not just tinkering at the edges. It truly is a daunting task and not one for the old guard or inexperienced.