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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Barnes & Noble plans to test four new stores that "will feature cafes offering wine and beer in spaces that will be double the size of its typical cafes. The retailer is also throwing its hat into the competitive restaurant business, a strategy that some independent booksellers have successfully embraced. In addition to its traditional cafe fare, Barnes & Noble will offer a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, together with waiter service at the four new stores."

The restaurants are said to be moderately priced, and seen as a way to drive new traffic to Barnes & Noble, which has been suffering from almost congenitally weak traffic numbers as it wilts under pressure from Amazon.

During a recent investor conference, the reports, "Barnes & Noble provided more detail about its bookstore business at a time when it has significantly diversified beyond hardcover and paperback books. Today, books generate about 60% of bookstore revenue, while gifts, music, DVDs, toys and games contribute 20% of bookstore revenue combined. The cafe business adds just under 10% of bookstore revenue. The retailer didn’t break out its newsstand segment."
KC's View:
Probably a test that makes sense, but I think I'd rather go to a real restaurant - or Starbucks - and just bring my iPad or Kindle. Hate to say it, but I can't even remember the last time I went into a Barnes & Noble ... I go into independent bookshops all the time (especially mystery bookstores), but Barnes & Noble, to me, has all the appeal of a mausoleum.