The exclusivity has set off a fire under Barnes & Noble executives, as the company will not have access to these novels. In a knee-jerk reaction, B&N store have been ordered to pull DC Comics graphic novels off the shelves in retaliation.
This smacks of a very petty move by B&N, especially since you can still order the pulled novels from its online store. It is plainly just making a show of removing the books from its stores. As I said, a petty move. From Bleeding Cool:
An email sent to stores yesterday instructs them to remove all of the 100 graphic novels listed from the shelves, including Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Sandman, Fables, Blackest Night, All Star Superman, Y The Last Man, V For Vendetta, all strong sellers for the company. You will still be able to order the books on the website, but in bookstores you won’t even be able to special order a copy – unless you request it delievered to your home. Copies will not be allowed to enter Barnes & Noble premises.
Yep, the books are even banned from entering B&N stores. Petty.
Update: Barnes & Noble responded with the following statement:
Barnes & Noble works with thousands of publishers to bring customers the world's largest selection of physical and digital reading content. However, regardless of the publisher, we will not stock physical books in our stores if we are not offered the available digital format. In a few isolated instances, exclusive publisher deals have prohibited Barnes & Noble from selling certain eBooks, preventing millions of our digital customers from access to those titles. To sell and promote the physical book in our store showrooms, and not have the eBook available for sale would undermine our promise to Barnes & Noble customers to make available any book, anywhere, anytime. Jaime Carey, Chief Merchant, Barnes & Noble
So it's a matter of principle. Although it seems removing physical books from shelves violates B&N's promise to "make available any book".
Update #2: DC Entertainment responded with a statement regarding the pulling of physical books from shelves by Barnes & Noble:
DC Entertainment will be offering digital graphic novels through Amazon’s online store. This news was announced last week at the Amazon press conference unveiling the new color Kindle Fire.
Through this partnership with Amazon, DC Entertainment graphic novels will be downloadable on the new Kindle Fire, as well as other mobile and online devices – such as the iPad – through a Kindle app. DC Entertainment is excited by this business initiative with Amazon and expects fans to be amazed by the robust, intuitive comics reader experience Amazon has created for the Kindle Fire which showcases with extraordinary brilliance and clarity the incredible artwork and graphics DC Entertainment is known for.
Upon hearing news of the our digital distribution plans with Amazon, Barnes & Noble book stores notified DC Entertainment that they will be pulling the physical books of these graphic novels off all their store shelves.
We are disappointed that Barnes & Noble has made the decision to remove these books off their shelves and make them unavailable to their customers.
DC Entertainment will continue to make our content available to our fans and new readers through multiple distribution channels including locally-owned comic book retailers, independent bookstores, other bookstore chains and other widespread means such as online through Amazon and through our apps on iOS and select Android powered devices as well as new and exciting devices going forward.
As one of the largest book publishers in North America, DC Entertainment's publishing strategy is to give our consumers the choice to read our stories in whichever format they prefer but we also know that nothing will ever take away from the joy and collectability of physical books, comics and graphic novels.
SVP Publicity- DC Entertainment