Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Barnes & Noble: Gone by New Year’s?

More depressing news for bookstore lovers. New York Times best-selling author Michael Levin writes that if you have a Barnes & Noble gift card, you might want to use it soon:
It’s bad news for people who love books. It’s worse news for the next generation of readers, who may never experience buying a book in a bookstore. B&N has been closing about 20 stores per year since 2012 and has said it will continue to do so for the next several years. But its financial position is bleak. This follows a decades-long period of expansion, moving into neighborhoods where privately-owned bookstores thrived, destroying those stores with cut-price best-sellers, and all but owning the book business. Borders collapsed because of poor choices -- weak locations, an overemphasis on music, and, worst of all, selling off its online bookstore to Amazon for $20 million in the 1990s. Chump change, by today’s standards. So why is B&N on the ropes if it has virtually no competition today from chains or privately owned bookstores?
Read HERE.


Michael Diamond said...

Good riddance. Hopefully our beloved mom and pop bookstores will return.

joel65913 said...

A large part of the mistake was going to those barn like structures in the first place.

Having worked in both a smaller Walden's bookstore and a Borders the difference was vast for both the customer and the employee. In a Walden's you knew your customers, their tastes and could recommend and interact with them which kept them coming back. The only customers you knew in a Borders were the problem ones.

Because everything was so structured in the bigger stores as opposed to just the front of the store in a Walden's and the processes so antiquated you just didn't have time and the spaces were so big that you could never run into people on a regular basis and get acquainted as you could at a Waldens.

Of course customers also abandoned the smaller stores for the seeming convenience of the big box then gripped at the loss of personal attention. Personal attention is hard to come by, and honestly cost prohibitive, in a space the size of a football field.

The whole experience turned me into a library browser, where I don't have to listen to some idiot complain that they drove 10 miles to get something whose name they don't know, but it has a blue cover, and that they didn't check to see if we had because they thought we kept a version of every book ever published "in the back."

I still love small bookstores though and will stop and browse when I run across one, a sadly much rarer occurrence nowadays.

Ruddigore said...

The future generation won't be buying paper books. They will be downloading them to their tablets.

Jackie said...

I used to spend a lot of time at my B&N when it was small, quiet and just sold books. It was my favorite place to go on my night out w/o the kids. Now there's a huge Nook store in the center, a cafe and they even sell action figures! I hardly go anymore except at the holidays.