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Barnes & Noble's Nook business up 34 percent last fiscal year

Company says it generated revenue of $933 million during the 2012 fiscal year, up from $695 million in the prior year. But other financial details create a shakier image.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Barnes & Noble's Nook business had a mixed fiscal year, the company reported today.

During the 12-month period that ended April 28, Barnes & Noble's Nook business, which includes e-reader, accessories, and digital content sales, posted revenue of $933 million, representing a 34.3 percent gain over the $695 million it posted in the prior year. However, the segment's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) fell from a loss of $209 million in the 2011 fiscal year to a loss of $262 million.

Barnes & Noble had other financial details to share as well. The company said that its Nook digital business, which includes e-books, newsstand items, and apps, was up 119 percent year over year.

The company didn't say how many Nooks it sold during its fiscal fourth quarter, but did say that sales were down compared to the prior year due to "higher third-party channel partner returns, lower selling volume, and lower average selling prices."

Barnes & Noble's mixed bag of earnings comes a couple of months after the company announced that it had inked a $300 million deal with Microsoft to create a subsidiary currently known as Newco. The company, which will be renamed, will combine Barnes & Noble's digital and college businesses, and give Microsoft a 17.6 percent equity stake in the operation. Barnes & Noble said at the time that the move would help "unlock" the value of its Nook unit.

In today's earnings release, Barnes & Noble made little mention of Newco, saying only that it will "capitalize the company to fuel continued growth in digital and international expansion."

Barnes & Noble generated $7.1 billion in sales during its last fiscal year. The company's net loss hit $68.9 million. Barnes & Noble's shares are currently trading down nearly 6 percent to $14.35.