Because Barnes & Noble is a very successful chain of bookstores, except the number of people who want to buy physical books is plummeting. A digital bookstore can stock a much larger inventory with almost no warehousing costs, and can deliver the book of your choice to you within seconds. What's more, a Kindle Paperwhite or a iPad Mini is lighter than a book and yet can contain many books, greatly facilitating travel. Even better, you can highlight passages of your digital books and annotate them and then have all your annotations available to you on all your digital devices. The only real value of physical books at this point is a kind of nostalgia-soaked experience, and people want to experience that at a friendly independently owned bookstore not an impersonal chain.I like an independent bookstore, I really do. But growing up in suburbia, Barnes and Noble was the awesomest thing alive. I actually sat in Barnes and Noble on a comfy chair and read Executive Orders by Tom Clancy cover-to-cover when I was a teenager. Can't get away with that at the supermarket!
I'm pretty old fashioned, so I like to give books as gifts. I like to drive to my local independent bookstore (who am I kidding? -- it's basically the only one still open in my town), browse and wait for a moment of inspiration. My kids will probably never have that experience.