Barnes & Noble typically conjures images of books, calendars, CDs and other published items. But the retailer is looking to broaden that base, adding more than one million new products to its online marketplace at BN.com.

That includes cooking utensils, digital cameras and, yes, even baby strollers. The company has partnered with more than 20 retailers for the new product lines, including Wayfair, Abe’s of Maine and School Specialty.

In a press release, Barnes & Noble president of e-commerce, John Foley, called the new products “an organic extension of our consumer value proposition.” They are divided into five new product categories, including home and gift; consumer electronics; arts and crafts; toys and games; and baby.

The move is a direct response to Amazon.com’s successful third-party merchant marketplace. And Barnes & Noble will have a long way to go to catch up to its much larger rival.

Amazon now boasts a market value of $106 billion, compared to just $620 million for Barnes & Noble. Peter Wahlstrom, an analyst at Morningstar, tells Reuters that he doesn’t expect the new Barnes & Noble marketplace to be a big source of revenue.

The rivalry between Amazon and Barnes & Noble has intensified recently, with both companies selling their own digital reading devices: The Kindle and The Nook. Also, Barnes & Noble recently pulled comic book titles from its shelves from DC Comics after the iconic publishing company entered into an exclusive agreement with Amazon.com’s upcoming Kindle Fire.

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  • Guest

    What would be cool is if I could walk into a Barnes & Noble and, instead of books, be able to buy electronics, cooking utensils, digital cameras and, yes, even baby strollers. I could really see myself Targeting such a store to do all my shopping.

  • Anonymous

    B&N has a problem since it has both online and physical stores.  I quit buying from them when:
    - I saw a book on their website at $20 which was their regular online price for a $30 list book. 
    - I saw that it was available in a local B&N store
    - I selected the book to be held at the store
    - I went to the store and found the book price was $30 (could get $3 discount if I paid to be part of their club) and not the $20 I was expecting.  They explained to me the local store and the online store are really two different companies.

    To me that is a broken model … full price in the store but a major discount online.  I could see some kind of a price premium to pick it up now, but not that big disparity.  I quit shopping at B&N after that.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FPHRKWVNBGO4N6VSY7KALW6A6U Torsten Adair

      grsmith,

      The website is a warehouse in the middle of nowhere with no cafe, carpet, or customer service (unless you call the toll free number).

      Your local store?  There’s a lot of overhead in that nice, welcoming bookstore.  The cafe requires licensed managers who know the local health codes.  The stores are usually in nice neighborhood shopping centers, which means that rent is higher than a strip mall, let alone the barrens of New Jersey.

      But feel free to order it from Amazon.  Just remember that they pay no local taxes, so when your city’s sales tax revenue declines, the city fathers will probably raise your property taxes.  And when those unemployed workers start using the social safety net, you’ll probably have to pay more to support them as well.  And what happens when your Main Street is deserted, because everyone is shopping online?  When Wal*Mart blasted Main Street in the 1990s, at least those superstores were local and hired people and paid taxes.  Amazon?  Unless you live in Washington, they’re not “local”.

      • Anonymous

        Well lucky for me Amazon is within 10 miles of where I live and I do pay taxes on what I buy from them.  On the other hand, it isn’t Amazon that pays sales tax it is the buyer … it is up to the buyer to pay sales tax if the site doesn’t charge it.  You mean you don’t?.   What small internet sales sites (not Amazon) have a problem with is keeping up on the sales taxes of different jurisdicitions.   For instance, if you are a store in Seattle, you know what the exact sales tax rates are there but if you are in Everett (30 miles north) the tax rate is different.   Now multiply that by all tax jurisdictions in the country and you have a real mess to try and keep track of.  IMHO what should really happen is that sales tax states should set up a tax clearing house, each state can set up a  single tax rate for the whole state and then the online retailers would pay the sales tax to the central clearing house.  At that point they have not excuse but to collect the tax. In addition, each state that receives sales tax should require any online service that resides in their state to collect sales tax when doing businesses in any other states that have a sales tax.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FPHRKWVNBGO4N6VSY7KALW6A6U Torsten Adair

          Barnes & Noble seems to keep track of the jurisdictions quite well, not to mention the various tax exemptions for Bibles, or the various taxes for food.  I believe, with the various state legislation which Amazon is fighting, that they would only need to keep track of 50- jurisdictions (as some states do not charge a sales tax).

          How difficult would it be for the IRS to set up a sales tax database for websites, by zip code?  If a POS system can keep track of millions of individual products (such as Amazon does), then it could easily keep track of tax jurisdictions.  (Zip+4 = >1 Billion combinations.  Most five digit zip codes fall completely within or outside city boundaries.)  If a site can handle those zip codes for shipping (most generate zip+4 automatically), they should be able to handle them for taxation.I do use the flat tax option on my NY State tax return when calculating online sales tax, instead of itemizing (since I don’t keep track of which purchases had tax and which didn’t).  It’s easier, and it’s a negligible amount.

          Businesses do not pay the tax, but it must collect it.  They could not charge it, but then Amazon would still be responsible for reporting the sales, and remitting the sales tax calculated by the state.

          The easiest solution?  Have jurisdictions tax UPS, DHL, etc.  Those delivery services DO have local depots (usually at airports), and it would be easy to add the tax to the shipping & handling, which websites would just pass on to the consumer.

      • Anonymous

        Well lucky for me Amazon is within 10 miles of where I live and I do pay taxes on what I buy from them.  On the other hand, it isn’t Amazon that pays sales tax it is the buyer … it is up to the buyer to pay sales tax if the site doesn’t charge it.  You mean you don’t?.   What small internet sales sites (not Amazon) have a problem with is keeping up on the sales taxes of different jurisdicitions.   For instance, if you are a store in Seattle, you know what the exact sales tax rates are there but if you are in Everett (30 miles north) the tax rate is different.   Now multiply that by all tax jurisdictions in the country and you have a real mess to try and keep track of.  IMHO what should really happen is that sales tax states should set up a tax clearing house, each state can set up a  single tax rate for the whole state and then the online retailers would pay the sales tax to the central clearing house.  At that point they have not excuse but to collect the tax. In addition, each state that receives sales tax should require any online service that resides in their state to collect sales tax when doing businesses in any other states that have a sales tax.

      • Guest

        Torsten, in the future, please include your disclaimer on anti-Amazon and pro-B&N (but not pro-BN.com) posts. I quote from another of your Disqus rants:

        “(Disclaimer: I work for B&N, but have absolutely NOTHING to do with
        this, and I am commenting as an individual, not via B&N.)”

      • Guest

        Torsten, in the future, please include your disclaimer on anti-Amazon and pro-B&N (but not pro-BN.com) posts. I quote from another of your Disqus rants:

        “(Disclaimer: I work for B&N, but have absolutely NOTHING to do with
        this, and I am commenting as an individual, not via B&N.)”

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FPHRKWVNBGO4N6VSY7KALW6A6U Torsten Adair

          Sure, “Guest” if you post under your actual name.   I post publicly, and as you proved, it’s easily discovered.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FPHRKWVNBGO4N6VSY7KALW6A6U Torsten Adair

      grsmith,

      The website is a warehouse in the middle of nowhere with no cafe, carpet, or customer service (unless you call the toll free number).

      Your local store?  There’s a lot of overhead in that nice, welcoming bookstore.  The cafe requires licensed managers who know the local health codes.  The stores are usually in nice neighborhood shopping centers, which means that rent is higher than a strip mall, let alone the barrens of New Jersey.

      But feel free to order it from Amazon.  Just remember that they pay no local taxes, so when your city’s sales tax revenue declines, the city fathers will probably raise your property taxes.  And when those unemployed workers start using the social safety net, you’ll probably have to pay more to support them as well.  And what happens when your Main Street is deserted, because everyone is shopping online?  When Wal*Mart blasted Main Street in the 1990s, at least those superstores were local and hired people and paid taxes.  Amazon?  Unless you live in Washington, they’re not “local”.

  • Bnsucks

    There’s never any reason to ever by from B&N.com….do your research and EVERYTHING is cheaper on amazon.com

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