This morning, leading bookseller Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) reported its first full quarter since the departure of video-game retailer GameStop (NYSE:GME), which was spun off last November. While the results may not have qualified for a high score, Barnes & Noble still had a respectable showing. First-quarter net income fell to $9.9 million, or $0.13 per share, from $11.4 million a year ago. However, excluding the impact of GameStop -- which contributed $4.2 million ($0.06) to last year's bottom line -- earnings from continuing operations jumped 30%, topping expectations and hitting the high end of management's targets.

Total revenue climbed 4% for the quarter to $1.09 billion, driven by a 5% increase in sales from the company's namesake stores, which reported a modest 2.2% comp improvement. However, after reversing earlier losses to post a profit last quarter on a 14% increase in sales, the company's virtual storefront,, only managed to report flat revenues of around $91 million.

The B. Dalton chain added another $31.5 million, though continued closures and weak same-store sales pared back revenues by more than 21%. Sales from the mall-based outlets now constitute only 3% of Barnes & Noble's total revenues, and the company seems content to let them dwindle down to nothing. That's in contrast to rival Borders (NYSE:BGP), which has taken steps to shore up performance at its struggling Waldenbooks mall stores, converting many of them to Borders Express locations.

As has been the case, Barnes & Noble's first-quarter same-store sales trailed behind the much smaller Books-A-Million (NASDAQ:BAMM) -- which reported a solid 3.6% gain yesterday -- but will likely outpace those at Borders, whose results are due out after the bell today. However, all three companies are already looking forward to next quarter, which will see a massive influx of business when Scholastic's (NASDAQ:SCHL) eagerly awaitedHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince takes the muggle world by storm.

While the next chapter in the Harry Potter saga will almost certainly mean a spike in bookstore traffic after its mid-July release, the heavy discounts on the novel (common for bestsellers) will keep margins in check. For example, Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection (NASDAQ:AMZN) is offering the book at a steep 40% discount.

Nevertheless, Barnes & Noble is banking on Harry and friends to help deliver full-year earnings of as much as $1.98, well above estimates. Still, while next quarter's results should be a real page-turner, there is a distinct danger in pinning the long-term fortunes of the company on a short-term phenomenon -- even one as powerful as Harry.

What's in store for the Hogwarts gang? Make your predictions in the Sirius Black's Muggle Friends discussion board.

Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.