Barnes & Noble sees Nook fast growth, to go into 9 new countries

Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:23pm EDT

The new Nook Tablet is seen during a demonstration at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York, November 7, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The new Nook Tablet is seen during a demonstration at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York, November 7, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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(Reuters) - Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N) expects its digital Nook and college bookstore businesses to generate combined revenues of $3 billion this year, helped by strong e-books sales growth, and the bookseller said on Wednesday it plans to expand its digital bookstore into nine new international markets by June.

The bookstore chain's shares rose 8.2 percent to close at $14.94.

Barnes & Noble Chief Executive William Lynch, speaking at a conference of one of its investors, Liberty Media Corp (LMCA.O), said he expects to see "substantial growth" in revenues of Nook Media Inc, the subsidiary created this year that combines its digital and college businesses.

Last fiscal year, which ended in June, both divisions had total revenue of $2.7 billion. Morningstar analyst Peter Wahlstrom said that implied about 30 percent growth in Barnes & Noble's digital and e-reader business, given the more modest performance of the college bookstore chain.

The U.S. bookstore chain has invested heavily in its digital business to help it prosper at a time when more readers are switching from traditional books to e-books.

Barnes & Noble, which this year is selling its Nook e-readers outside the United States for the first time by teaming up with leading British retailers, said its digital bookstore would be available in 10 foreign markets by June 2013.

The bookstore chain last month introduced updates to its Nook tablets. The company said pre-orders for those devices, which will start shipping later this month, were up 240 percent compared with previous Nook launches.

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has a 17.6 percent stake in Nook Media Inc.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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