March 8, 2010, 12:00 AM

Barnes & Noble names an executive to oversee digital content

Barnes & Noble has named Jonathan Shar as general manager, digital news stand and emerging content for Barnes&

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Books and media multichannel retailer Barnes & Noble Inc. has named Jonathan Shar as general manager, digital news stand and emerging content for Barnes&;

Shar will be responsible for working with newspapers, magazines, periodicals, blogs and other content publishers to market their digital editorial products, says Barnes & Noble.

Shar joins Barnes & Noble, No. 41 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, from Time Warner’s Time Inc. division where he worked as the senior vice president and general manager of From 2003-2007, he also served as vice president of consumer marketing for the Sports Illustrated Group, which includes the Sports Illustrated, SI for Kids and Golf brands.

Shar’s hiring is more evidence of the importance Barnes & Noble is placing on digital content and e-commerce. In fact with a burgeoning online business and aggressive new business development in the e-book reader market, Barnes & Noble is transforming itself from a conventional books retailer into a major e-commerce franchise, CEO Steve Riggio told Wall Street analysts on the company’s recent third quarter earnings call.

"2009 was a year in which we set the stage for growth and we expect that 2010 will be a watershed year in Barnes & Noble`s transformation from being a brick-and-mortar retailer to becoming a major e-commerce retailer," Riggio told analysts. "The core e-commerce business has really begun to gain momentum and 2010 is going to be the year where we are fully in stock with the nook device, and will ramp up on marketing with good displays." Barnes & Noble has developed its own digital book reader, called the nook, which will compete with Amazon’s Kindle, the Sony Reader, Apple’s soon-to-be-released iPad and other devices for reading electronic books.

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