Teaching Note | HBS Case Collection | November 2013

Barnes & Noble: Managing the E-Book Revolution

by Alan MacCormack, Brian Kimball Dunn and Chris F. Kemerer


In 2012, Barnes & Noble found itself in a difficult position. While the company had weathered the advent of online retailing relatively well, the arrival of electronic books (e-books) threatened the company's viability. Primary competitor Borders had already fallen by the wayside, and the decisions Barnes & Noble would take with regard to e-books would dictate whether the company would have a bright future. The case explores the arrival of the e-book industry, its history and key players, and provides a basis from which to explore Barnes & Noble's outlook and options as the company seeks to adapt to the onset of a transformative new technology.

Keywords: Technological Innovation; Online Technology; Adaptation; Books; Retail Industry;


MacCormack, Alan, Brian Kimball Dunn, and Chris F. Kemerer. "Barnes & Noble: Managing the E-Book Revolution." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 614-040, November 2013.