Barnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio is making a bid to separate the company’s retail and online businesses.

Question is, how will this effect the Barnes & Noble brand?

Investors are clearly heartened by the announcement. Stock in the company jumped 17 percent simply on rumors of the move. Investors seem to see Barnes & Noble’s split personality – half retail bookseller, half online retailer – as a negative.

How smart is a Barnes & Noble split?

They may be right business-wise, but a division like this could hurt the brand.

barnes & noble splitOstensibly, the split would allow greater focus on each segment of the company. But it could also feed the perception that this is a bi-polar business.

A lot depends on the moniker. If the Barnes & Noble name stays with both ends, the company will continue to be seen as one by the public. Any inconstancies in how the two businesses are run have the potential to hurt the entire company.

Barnes & Noble should proceed with caution. If the split takes place it’s critical that the two ends of the business adhere stringently to brand standards. Every detail matters when creating brand preference.

Slip up and Amazon is the winner.