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Barnes and Nobles/Simon and Schuster Dispute

And of course, that article has precisely the impact B&N wants. Authors will look at that and think twice before submitting works to S&S, now.

I'm unclear why this is "despicable", though. This is a business, trying to get a better rate, and cutting purchases from the company in question unless they give a better rate... If S&S needs B&N more than B&N needs S&S (which seems to be the case), then S&S has to buckle. They have little choice.

This isn't despicable; it's just how business works. It's sad that it will hurt writers (being one, I feel more natural empathy for the writers than for the S&S employees who will get sacked if this goes on too long). But that's the nature of the business.
S&S could always take their business elsewhere right? Why do they need B&N?

Um... Where?

Amazon is the largest seller of print books in the US. B&N is the second largest. There is no third place of any significant size.

Edited to add: The problem is, B&N customers are going to shop at B&N, whether S&S books are sold there or not. Which means S&S books not being sold at those stores is a net loss of a HUGE percentage of their market for S&S, and a very minimal loss to B&N. B&N can get along about 99% as well as they have been without S&S, while S&S cannot survive losing B&N.
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Fiery Keeper of the Hat
This does remind me of what someone said previously about B&N wanting to run a cheap store, not a profitable one.

While it's sort of "fair practice," I guess, there's only so many times B&N can play that card. If S&S gives in - and it sounds like they'll have to mostly give in - then other publishers will, too.

But if S&S doesn't, and either just relies on Amazon or else goes under, B&N will just speed up their own irrelevancy. B&N doesn't have a strong hand in the long run, and publishers have to know that B&N can't blacklist everyone.

What I mean is, I think B&N is all in on this hand, even if they'll probably win. And honestly, they probably should win. But it's a desperate play.
Desperate is probably an understatement. In the very short term, B&N will be closing down their chain retail stores; they're simply not viable in the current market. Problem is, it's difficult to close down hundreds of stores without shattering your company, even if those stores have lost money ever year for years now.

B&N has for a few years been worth more as raw assets than they are worth in stock value; they're prime for a hostile takeover to come in, buy them out, and liquidate the company for profit.