For the second year in a row Barnes & Noble is renting a booth at CES. Once again they will be occupying a booth in the lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and once again they won't be showing off the Nook (or so the exhibitor listing and scheduled event suggest).
I know that last year I said that it was crazy to come to a gadget trade show and not bring a gadget to show off, but I think there may be a method to B&N's madness.
This post finds me stuck home for a night due to a weather -induced flight cancellation, and that delay has given me time to sit and think about B&N's latest crazy stunt. I've come to the conclusion that it's not as crazy as it looks. I'm beginning to think Barnes & Noble came to CES this year to promote their core business:
Sure, the Nook platform gets all the attention but the reality is that Barnes & Noble has always made more from their stores than from the Nook. That was true even before the Nook started its decline last holiday season, and it is even more true today. And that could be why B&N is coming to CES this year.
Much to my surprise, Barnes & Noble is acting like a bookseller. They even have an all day event scheduled for Tuesday where they promise that prominent leaders in tech will be autographing their books.
Now, the next question that comes to mind is whether this is a good investment. I tend to think it's not, but even though I think it is ill-advised I also have to say that it is not a dumb idea (how I described it last year).
B&N might not see a direct monetary or marketing gain from exhibiting at CES, but that doesn't mean that they don't have something to gain from showing up.
Would anyone care to guess what that is?
I know that more than a few of my readers run businesses of one type or another, so I am betting that you have a better idea what B&N stands to gain. What do you think they're going for?