Barnes & Noble is splitting into two companies: one for Nooks and one for books

Barnes & Noble will divide itself into two companies, one dedicated to the tanking Nook hardware business and the other the more profitable —but still struggling— brick and mortar book retail operation. As Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby explained today in its 2014 fourth quarter earnings: “We have determined that these businesses will have the best chance of optimizing shareholder value if they are capitalized and operated separately.” The move concludes a long, bumpy fall from grace for what was once America’s largest bookseller chain, which launched the Nook in 2009 as a surprisingly sophisticated competitor to Amazon’s Kindle.

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