John Lewis: B&N’s Redcross Knight or Don Quixote?

Barnes & Noble now has a UK bricks-and-mortar retail partner to sell its Nook devices: John Lewis, an electronics store with 37 locations and an e-commerce website.

One would think that Amazon’s partnership with Waterstones (296 locations) and Kobo’s partnership with WHSmith (611 locations) would trump B&N’s new deal. To make matters worse for B&N, John Lewis also sells both Kindle and Kobo devices.

For B&N to succeed internationally, it needs to find strong retail partners in many countries and get Nooks into people’s hands, according to Forrester book industry analyst James McQuivey. Perhaps John Lewis is just B&N’s first UK partner.

If that’s the case and there are more announcements to come, we give John Lewis a good shot at being B&N’s Redcross Knight, the British savior in Edmund Spenser’s classic allegory The Faerie Queen. If not, we doubt the retailer will be much more effective at helping B&N lead the pack in the UK than Don Quixote was at slaying giants.


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