Barnes & Noble Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

Tim Beyers
Tim Beyers
Feb 23, 2011 at 12:00AM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) slid more than 10% for the second day in a row following yesterday's news the bookseller would suspended its dividend to free up $60 million in cash flow to invest in the digital side of its business.

So what: Yesterday, Foolish colleague Matt Koppenheffer compared B&N to Ice-T racing madly through the woods in the B-movie Surviving the Game. To me, the scene feels a lot more like the Colonial fleet trying to escape the Cylons in the Scyfy Channel's excellent reimagining of Battlestar Galactica.

Now what: The competition is just as tough. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has created a store for any device in a move somewhat reminiscent of's (Nasdaq: AMZN) strategy to spread its Kindle store far and wide. Barnes & Noble was never going to have an easy time in that environment. It certainly hasn't so far.

In the closing episode of Galactica (spoiler alert!), the relative handful of survivors left from the original 50,000 colonists spread across a new planet stuck in a prehistoric age. Their aim? Start over from scratch, or die trying. Barnes & Noble's fate may prove to be no better.

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