NEW YORK - Barnes & Noble's fiscal first quarter was a tale of modern and traditional. Tech-savvy readers snapped up its e-books and other digital content during the period, while traditionalists headed to its bookstores for the popular "Fifty Shades of Grey" series and other items. The double dose of good news, coupled with cost-control efforts and lower expenses, helped the New York company's loss narrow while its revenue rose.
Weak sales of its Nook e-readers and an unchanged full-year outlook may have given investors pause. They sent its shares down more than 3 percent in morning trading.
Barnes & Noble Inc. faces tough competition from online retailers like Amazon.com and discount stores as consumers increasingly move away from traditional books in favor of electronic books. These factors have pushed the chain to invest heavily in its Nook e-reader and e-books, with digital content playing a key role in its success last quarter. Barnes & Noble also had the added bonus of riding the buzz of "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James, the publishing phenomenon that has drawn legions of readers into bookstores. The erotic novels occupy the top three spots on The New York Times' list of best-selling print and e-book fiction.