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Barnes & Noble's disastrous bet on an ebook-only future sank the Nook

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Barnes & Noble Nook HD profiles (875px)
Barnes & Noble Nook HD profiles (875px)

A few short weeks after William Lynch stepped down as CEO of Barnes & Noble, Bloomberg Businessweek has published a comprehensive look at the executive's turbulent tenure. Lynch joined the book retailer in 2009, just as work on the first Nook e-reader (then known by its code name Bravo) had gotten underway. The Nook beat industry expectations, and Lynch found himself in the chief executive role a year later. Barnes & Noble had seemingly found the right person to lead the bookstore chain's digital push.

Galvanized by the Nook's success, Lynch set his sights on the tablet market and Apple's iPad. But success didn't come twice; the Nook division began bleeding money and Bloomberg Businessweek says engineers felt distracted by fruitless side projects like user profiles (seen above) and the production of a Windows 8 app. Lynch was also too slow in appreciating one key fact: many people still prefer reading physical books, a point underlined by the success of Barnes & Noble's college bookstores. Now the duty of rehabilitating the Nook brand (or opting to do away with it) will fall to chairman Leonard Riggio.