Barnes & Noble Might Have Smaller Stores, Still Won’t Price-Match Own Website

It’s pretty intuitive that you don’t need a lot of retail floor space to sell e-books. Even a display of e-reader gadgets doesn’t take up as much room as shelf after shelf of books. that’s why absolutely no one should be surprised that Barnes & Noble might be considering stores with a smaller footprint.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, company chair Leonard Riggio discussed the future of the media-selling business and the current format of Barnes & Noble stores. Oh, and also a frequent topic of complaint for Consumerist readers: the company’s refusal to price-match its own website, even when not doing so costs them sales.

It’s not that the company doesn’t want to price-match, explains Riggio: it’s that they can’t, and it’s all your fault for doing research on the item that you wanted to buy. The only solution that experts at Barnes & Noble have been able to figure out? Sell exclusive items that no one online carries, which isn’t possible for a bookstore. “There are a certain number of customers who say who has the best price? They’ll come into the retail store itself with their phones and hit the button…” he told the WSJ. “The more you sell products that are branded outside of the store, that aren’t exclusive to the store, the harder it is.”

As for littler stores, Riggio agrees that comparatively tiny stores, 15,000 square feet or less, could be in the chain’s future. “The level of digital convergence from books to digital has decelerated,” he pointed out in a hopeful manner.

Riggio displayed less optimism when, a few weeks after the paper conducted this interview, he sold off $64 million worth of his stock, about 10% of the company.

Smaller Barnes & Noble Stores? ‘Yes, It’s Possible,’ Says Leonard Riggio [Wall Street Journal]