Barnes & Noble Ditch Publishing to Focus on eBooks and TabletsS

Barnes & Noble have been in publishing since the 1970s, but in recent years they've been squaring up to Amazon in the world of digital reading. Now, they're selling off their paper publishing division to focus on tech.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has put its Sterling Publishing business up for sale. That means that soon they'll be out of the publishing game for good. (To be clear, that doesn't mean the bricks-and-mortar stores are closing, just that their company that actually makes books is being sold.)

That most likely means that Barnes & Noble will focus on its new-found successes in technology, shifting its efforts to eReaders and tablets. Its Nook Tablet and Nook Simple Touch aren't perfect, and they're hardly terrifying Amazon yet, but they do show promise. A lot of promise.

In December 2011 Barnes & Noble reported a loss of $6.6 million, compared with a loss of $12.6 million a year earlier. This could be the shift it needs to become profitable — and give Amazon a little more to worry about. [Wall Street Journal]