Trouble in Brick and Mortar Land


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Barnes & Noble fails to end Nook lawsuit

The little e-reader that could is having some legal trouble these days.  Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N) lost its bid to dismiss Spring Design Inc’s lawsuit accusing the largest U.S. bookseller of illegally copying a screen design for the popular Nook electronic book reader.
Spring Design will be allowed to pursue claims accusing Barnes & Noble of misappropriating trade secrets, breach of contract and unfair competition, according to a ruling in the federal court in San Jose, California.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge James Ware on Monday evening is a setback for Barnes & Noble, which launched Nook in October 2009 to compete with Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) market-leading Kindle. Spring Design sued the next month.
In its complaint, Spring Design said it had shared the dual-display design of its forthcoming Alex eReader with Barnes & Noble when the companies held talks in 2009 over a possible partnership.
Can’t leave out Borders.  Seems they’re being a pinch-penny these days.

Borders delays payments to vendors

Borders Group Inc. has delayed payments to some of its vendors as the nation’s second-largest bookseller seeks to preserve cash while it struggles to refinance its debt. The news sent shares down more than 15 percent in after-hours trading.
The amount that Borders can borrow under its credit facility has been reduced because the value of its inventory has fallen. Borders spokeswoman Mary Davis said Thursday that the company will work with vendors to restructure their payment arrangements while it continues to try to refinance its senior credit facilities.
Borders has said that it is in talks with other possible lenders to replace its financing and that it may sell some assets to improve its cash position. It plans to close 16 stores during the fourth quarter, including four by ending leases early and the rest when their leases run out. But Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Borders reiterated Thursday that there is no assurance that any refinancing will come through, and that it could violate terms of its debt in the first quarter of 2011 and “experience a liquidity shortfall.”
Is the Brick and Mortar stores going by the wayside now?  Will they (and smaller, one-owner bookstores) still be in business in a year? Five years?  Or will they go the way of the Model-T?
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