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What: Shares of book and Nook seller Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS ) watched investors close the book on its shares today, as they fell as much as 31% in intraday trading after the company lowered its forecast for full-year results.
So what: On the bright side, sales of B&N's Nook reader were up significantly from last year's holiday season. However, those sales look like they'll miss expectations. Worse, investments that B&N has made to help fuel that growth are also fueling a much-larger-than-expected loss for the year.
If you ask B&N management, though, the Nook business is absolutely one worth owning -- perhaps even on its own. In its comments today, B&N noted that it's exploring strategic options for the Nook business, including spinning it off.
Now what: I have a really tough time getting excited about Barnes & Noble as an investment. On one hand, you have a brick-and-mortar bookseller. It's done better on that side than its bankrupt rival Borders, but it's an imperiled business nonetheless. On the other side, there's a promising growth business in the Nook e-readers. That's a more interesting segment, but it's costly, and it's going head-to-head with Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) , a company with a balance sheet that outshines B&N's by an extremely wide margin.
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