Just a few days after rumors started springing up that Apple intended on buying streaming video service (and Netflix competitor) Hulu comes an even odder rumors, courtesy of BGR: Apple is in talks to buy Barnes & Noble out from under them. What?
According to BGR’s “unproven source,” the idea here is that Apple could pay $1.5 billion out of its vast cash hoards and secure all of Barnes & Noble’s eBooks and digital publications library, then fold them into their own iBookstore.
Again, what? This just doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would Apple buy out a competitor’s library when they can just sign deals with publishers to bring that same content to iBooks? It’s not like Barnes & Noble’s ebook library wouldn’t have to be translated to iBooks format anyway, so Apple’s not really gaining a lot here by buying B&N just for the ebook library.
The other part of this rumor is that Apple would just replace Barnes & Noble’s retail locations and replace them with Apple Stores. Again, this seems like just a huge amount of work and overhead to do the same thing that can be accomplished without buying B&N: just open more physical retail stores.
Consider me way skeptical of this. I just don’t see what Apple would have to gain. This unproven source of BGR’s then went on to claim that that iTunes 11 would be released in September along with iOS 5 and iCloud, and will support reading iBooks on computers as well as textbook purchases and rentals. That, at least, is plausible enough.