Barnes & Noble will divide itself into two companies, one dedicated to the tanking Nook hardware business and the other the more profitable —but still struggling— brick-and-mortar book-retail operation. As Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby explained today in its 2014 fourth quarter earnings: "We have determined that these businesses will have the best chance of optimizing shareholder value if they are capitalized and operated separately." The move concludes a long, bumpy fall from grace for what was once America's largest bookseller chain, which launched the Nook in 2009 as a surprisingly sophisticated competitor to Amazon's Kindle. Ultimately, Amazon won out as the preferred e-reader for Americans, and Barnes & Noble's attempts to offer a Nook Tablet also resulted in massive sales losses, leading to the ouster of its CEO in 2013. And if there's a turnaround in store for the Nook hardware division, it remains far from view.