Barnes & Noble announced today that it is considering selling its NOOK business, citing significant shortfalls in sales and cutting its full-year forecast.

B&N also cited NOOK sales which fell below expectations, and investments in advertising and expansion as reasons for a predicted shortfall in fiscal 2012 sales of between $200 million and $320 million less than average estimates of $7.32 billion.

The major bookseller indicated that it plans to market the NOOK for "years to come," but that it "over-anticipated the growth in consumer demand for single-purpose black-and-white reading devices this holiday," as the company's simplest e-reader lagged far behind in sales compared to other members of the NOOK family.

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Barnes & Noble is looking to split its e-reader business, exploring options with partners including publishers and tech companies which have the potential to expand the NOOK business internationally.

CEO William Lynch offered a short explanation of the decision:

We see substantial value in what we’ve built with our NOOK business in only two years, and we believe it’s the right time to investigate our options to unlock that value.

Barnes & Noble has decided to hold further comments until a final decision is made.

Via Fox Business