On the plus side, B&N reported that EBITA (operating profit) increased from $66.5 million to $75.7 million. They also reported net earnings of $13.2 million, or 15 cents a share, up from $501,000 a year ago. On a per-share basis, the company posted a loss of seven cents a year earlier.
But in spite of the 2 bright spots revenues were still down. Retail revenue fell nearly 8%, to $921 million. College bookstore revenue fell 4.6% to $737.5 million, and that was during the back to school period when B&N should have shown an increase.
And to top things off, Nook revenue dropped 32%, to $108.7 million. Device and accessory sales reached $51 million for the quarter, a decrease of 41.3% from the same period last year. Even though B&N was selling their hardware at drop dead prices they still couldn't equal last year's sales.
Digital content sales also dropped for the quarter. They totaled $57 million, a decline of 21.2% compared to a year ago.
Just to put that in perspective, the AAP reported last week that August 2013 digital revenues (ebook plus audiobook) totaled $144 million. That's one of the 3 months included in B&N's latest quarterly report and does not include the entire market, but it does offer an indication that B&N has lost ebook market share.
At one point B&N claimed to have 27% of the ebook market, and now it is clear that their market share has shrunk. I'm sure this comes as no surprise to anyone.
Barnes & Noble is going into the holiday season in a reasonably strong albeit minimally profitable position. Their current financial report shows hints of a turnaround in terms of profitability, and if B&N can keep that trend going while still boosting sales during the most important sales quarter of the year then they should come out even stronger than before.