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Barnes & Noble at $38. Really?

Stocks in this article: BKS MSFT LMCA AMZN GOOG

Really, how much value does the Nook actually have?

There are a couple of issues at work. According to The Huffington Post, Barnes & Noble lags the competition in total apps -- about 10,000, vs. more than 60,000 on the Kindle Fire and 275,000 on the iPad mini. The Nook also falls short in the number of movie titles, does not offer a camera, and has no mobile features.

Back in January 2012, Liberty Media (LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei suggested that Nook would be more appealing to investors as a stand-alone entity.

Maybe that is exactly what the Barnes & Noble needs to push the Nook to the next level. And, realistically, bookstores are a dying business.

In any case, the point here is that the company has been talking about doing something for over a year and yet the Nook offerings remain little changed, despite losing market share -- even amongst tablets based on Google's (GOOG) Android system, which includes both the Amazon (AMZN) Kindle and the Nook.

According to a report published in January 2013, "Amazon's Kindle is leading the charge for Android, holding 33% of the market among other Android Tablets. Distantly behind Amazon is the Nook with 10%, Samsung Galaxy series with 9%, and Google's Nexus 7 with 8%."

I don't recommend shorting Barnes & Noble, at least not yet. Granted, the company is in a dying business and the Nook is losing market share by the minute, but there actual books are not dead yet, and they won't be for some time yet.

Going forward, keep a watchful eye. Things are likely going to get very volatile for Barnes & Noble.

There is still the chance that the book seller could attract some attention from some very big players. One possibility is that Microsoft's (MSFT) investment last year could point to something. Granted, the company makes its own e-readers, such as the Surface tablet, but there is no reason that the Nook couldn't join that product line in one for or another.

I think it is more likely the company was getting into position to bolster its tablets from its competition with Amazon -- of course, whether those efforts pay off is another story all together.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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