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Barnes & Noble to book stock for online store

Bookseller to file for IPO within a month

Barnes & Noble has decided to relieve itself of heavy startup costs and feed the frenzy of investors for Internet stocks by taking its online bookstore public.

The bookseller said Thursday that, within 30 days, it will file for an initial public offering for barnesandnoble.com.

At present, pioneer virtual bookseller Amazon.com has a market capitalization greater than Barnes & Noble and “super” bookstore competitor Borders combined; never mind that the two bricks-and-mortar booksellers generate 18 times Amazon’s sales.

In going public, barnesandnoble.com boasts such basic characteristics of Internet stocks as fast-growing revenues matched by even faster-growing losses.

As Barnes & Noble also reported Thursday, barnesandnoble.com saw revenues rise 470% to $12.5 million as its operating loss widened 928% to $23.0 million.

For its retail business, meanwhile, Barnes & Noble reported that sales gained 7.6% to $662.5 million as operating profits more than doubled to $19.6 million.

The company’s stock responded favorably to the news, rising 8.2% Wednesday to close at $40.31 a share.

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