Why Google Should Buy Barnes & Noble
The media is abuzz with the news that John Malone of Liberty Media has made an offer of $17 a share for 70% of Barnes & Noble, the last remaining bookstore in the US.
In the Financial Times the point was made that, being the last man standing, Barnes and Noble has the advantage of no competition, and the Wall Street Journal emphasized the value of the Nook software that could become prevalent across Android-based tablets.
There could, however, be a broader opportunity for a company with vision. In one of his recent blogs, Seth Godin challenged the concept of the current library as being a warehouse of dead books to being a place where “people come together to do co-working and coordinate and invent projects worth working on together”.
Why not extend this concept of reinventing the library to being a reinvention of the bookstore? Apple’s concept of successfully mashing 3 things together - a community (Mac / iPhone users), a platform (iTunes) and an experience (Apple store) - could be built upon to create a powerful viral marketing experience and exceptionally loyal fans.
If Google were to buy Barnes & Noble they could enhance the Apple model by blending communities (Android, Nook, YouTube) with platforms (Nook, Google Search, Chrome and Android), and provide opportunities for new experiences of learning, creating and discovering in an amazing distinct new mashed-up retail forum.
It could become the perfect living laboratory for integration of digital and real-world resources, and at the same time provide a mechanism for interaction with consumers; it would make the Google brand incredibly tangible across all its ventures.
Coincidentally, it could provide the perfect forum for facilitating a nationwide open innovation environment that encourages the growth of entrepreneurism. In this new digital age, the Barnes & Noble Café could become the innovation catalyst, similar to the old coffee houses of Europe that used to facilitate the bringing together of creative and inspiring inventors and entrepreneurs. The Android and Nook platforms could be extended to enable a social networking community focused on education, innovation, creativity and fun.Continued on the next page