Lynch (above) has been on the job for just over three years, and the company notes in its announcement that he's played a role in developing various offerings in its line of Nook e-readers and tablets, including the Nook Simple Touch and Nook HD+. But that part of the company has been floundering for some time: In the third quarter of last year, Nook sales fell by 26 percent, and last month the company announced that it would stop making its own Nook color tablets. It's also tried to boost sales with heavy discounting, though competitor Amazon (AMZN) recently responded with some discounts of its own on Kindle tablets.
Things haven't been going any better in stores -- in response to plummeting sales, the company announced earlier this year that it was planning on shuttering up to a third of its stores across the country. The ongoing downsizing of the bookseller's physical presence has contributed to declining sales figures, with overall sales dropping 10 percent year-over-year last quarter.
The abrupt departure of Lynch doesn't seem to be cheering up Barnes & Noble's investors, as the stock is down 4 percent in after-hours trading.
Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.