As the Supreme Court said in it’s Citizen’s United opinion, corporations are people too and obviously they can exhibit the same behavior. In a “cut off your nose to spite your face” move, Barnes and Noble has removed copies of DC comics and graphic novels from it’s shelves because Amazon has an exclusive deal on the digital versions for its Kindle.
Barnes and Noble’s hissy fit as reported on Bleeding Cool and CNN may pose a problem for readers of certain DC comics like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen among others, since the store is removing the 100 titles covered by Amazon’s deal from its shelves. The graphic novels and comic books can still be purchased from Barnes and Nobel’s website and through special orders in the store.
The order to remove the books was issued to stores across the country as reported by a Barnes and Noble rep.:
“Regardless of the publisher, we will not stock physical books in our stores if we are not offered the available digital format,” the company’s chief merchant, Jaime Carey, said in a written statement. “To sell and promote the physical book in our store showrooms and not have the e-book available for sale would undermine our promise to Barnes & Noble customers to make available any book, anywhere”
Did you notice the part where he says “our promise to Barnes & Noble customers to make available any book, anywhere”. I guess that means only books that it has digital permission to provide on its own Nook. Removing books from its own shelves is certainly not making the books “available anywhere”.
The company needs to remember that in this digital age, “exclusive” doesn’t mean forever. Apple iPhones used to be exclusively available on AT&T but has migrated to Verizon and soon to other cell phone companies. Rather than pitching this fit and creating ill will between the companies, Barnes and Noble should be negotiating for digital rights to DC comics and books in the future.
After all a DC company spokesperson did hold out the possibility of other digital outlets getting access to these titles in the future.
"These titles are currently exclusive to Amazon," a company representative said. "We continue to have discussions with our other valued partners as digital is a key growth area for DC."
Is Barnes and Noble trying to push people to buy the Kindle instead of its Nook? You would think so. The company’s recent actions should exclude it from being one of DC’s “valued partners.” No one reacts well to temper tantrums whether from an actual flesh and blood person or a corporate one.
Barnes and Noble should have been cutting deals for its Nook Color long before the Kindle Fire became a twinkle in Jeff Bezos’ eye. Not crying afterward because they didn’t strike the deal first.
Disclaimer: I am a proud owner of the Nook Simple Touch. I wonder if I can find other comics to read on it ?