Barnes and Noble is acting like a survivor. Unlike the brick and mortar record stores, Virgin, Tower, etc, Barnes and Noble recognizes that in order o survive, one must change and adapt to the times. That is especially true with the rise of digital technology. Brick and mortar stores can survive even when the only thing being sold is data; hence the introduction of their E-book reader, the Nook. "The device features color touch-screen controls and a gray-and-white reading display. It will cost $259, matching Amazon.com’s most recent price cut for its latest edition of the Kindle."
The next step is to truly embrace it in the stores. With digital download stations, samples, and other means to keep customers coming into the store. make digital symbiotic with the store experience so both can survive, together and separately. It is how Barnes and Noble will ultimately differentiate itself from Amazon.
As usage will soar, Barnes & Noble can be positioned to adapt as digital takes hold and stores become less necessary. At the same time, consumers like getting out of the house to try new things, share and talk about content. That is Barnes and Noble's edge.