Barnes & Noble says it won't stock Amazon titles

February 1, 2012 - 12:17 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Barnes & Noble is attempting to irk its publishing rival Amazon.com Inc. by not stocking Amazon published titles in its stores.

The largest U.S. traditional bookseller has lost customers to cheaper online rivals like Amazon.com and discount stores. To fight back, it has invested heavily in an e-bookstore and Nook e-book readers, which compete with Amazon's Kindle e-readers.

Amazon, meanwhile, has been steadily expanding its publishing operations, signing exclusive deals with authors such as filmmaker-actress Penny Marshall and best-selling self-help author Timothy Ferris. It also recently started an imprint for science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Publishers and booksellers have been worried about Amazon's dual roles as client and competitor. Some bookstores have expressed strong reservations about selling books released by Amazon.

On Tuesday, New York-based Barnes & Noble said outright it wouldn't sell the titles.

Barnes & Noble Chief Merchandising Officer Jaime Carey said Amazon's exclusive deals with publishers, agents and the authors they represent have hindered Barnes & Noble's ability to offer some e-books to its customers.

"Their actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content," he said in an emailed statement. "It's clear to us that Amazon has proven they would not be a good publishing partner to Barnes & Noble as they continue to pull content off the market for their own self-interest."

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Seattle-based online retailer on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter results which indicated that its recent fast revenue growth might be moderating. Revenue rose 35 percent to $17.4 billion, but that was nearly a billion short of what analysts had expected. The shortfall was due mainly to a slowdown in Amazon's media business, which includes books, DVDs and content consumed on its Kindle tablet and e-reader devices.

Its shares dropped $19.41, or 10 percent, to $173.03 in morning trading Wednesday. Barnes & Noble stock dipped 7 cents to $12.