B&N’s New Dutch Sub Does Not Imply an eBookstore

There's some hot news today that is about to sweep the blogosphere, but I wouldn't get too excited just yet. There's more to it than what you think.

Martijn Josse of eReaders.nl found paperwork that Barnes & Noble filed back in December. As part of setting up a local subsidiary, they were required to register it with the Chamber of Commerce and give a description of what the company did, which is:

"The conduct of activities concerning research and development, production, publication, trade, marketing, sales and distribution with respect to, but not limited to, print and digital content, ereaders and other electronic devices and other products and services. "

That's exciting and all, but it doesn't directly imply that B&N will open a local ebookstore. Oh, I think they will, but this company registration also means something else.

I asked around before posting this, and I was told that the Netherlands (along with Ireland and Switzerland) were a good location for an American company to register a company; it has to do with taxes. My source had helped set up companies in Europe before and has first hand experience. I was also told that the Netherlands are particularly good for joint ventures; they've passed favorable legislation.

That last would suggest that this new sub has more to do with Waterstones and the Wookie than it does the possibility of a Dutch ebookstore. That deal was supposed to happen sometime this spring, but the negotiations haven't been finalized so the launch date is still up in the air.

Now, B&N is in talks to sell ebooks for Centraal Boekhuis, a major book and ebook distributor in that country. So it does seem likely that B&N will launch the local store. But the subsidiary is also probably involved with the Waterstones deal as well.


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