Sunday, January 29, 2012

Barnes & Noble v. Amazon

From an article on Barnes & Noble and the future of the book business:

Carolyn Reidy, president and chief executive of Simon & Schuster, says the biggest challenge is to give people a reason to step into Barnes & Noble stores in the first place. “They have figured out how to use the store to sell e-books,” she said of the company. “Now, hopefully, we can figure out how to make that go full circle and see how the e-books can sell the print books.”

Barnes & Noble, Taking on Amazon in the Fight of Its Life (New York Times)
Alas, the logic here defies logic. Using the bookstore to sell e-books makes it unnecessary to go to the bookstore, except to use it as a library or life-sized catalogue, or to have coffee.

A related post
Whither Barnes & Noble? (“Bookstore survival-strategy seems to be premised on everything but books.”)

comments: 3

mwschmeer said...

I disagree.

B&N are better positioned to capitalize on the emerging ebook culture. People will still want to meet the people whose books they fall in love with--B&N has the brick and mortar stores to provide that.

Imagine going into a B&N to get your own work turned into an ebook--to get assistance, tutoring, etc. They will do that.

Imagine wanting to take the ebook you bought and turning it into a bespoke edition - you pick the cover art, the page quality, etc. - and getting it printed & bound before your eyes, and walking out with that book in your hands. B&N is a in a position to do that.

The problem, of course, is that B&N need to convince themselves that they aren't in the book business. They are in the reading experience business, and those are two different things.

Pete said...

And yet they were supposedly concerned about their stores becoming just a cafe and broadband connection. I have little use for B&N myself - I saw a dozen books at my local used bookstore and Goodwill yesterday that I probably wouldn't have found at our bricks-and-mortar B&N. But I'm sure the publishing industry is desperately hoping that B&N survives - because without them as a competitor, Amazon will absolutely devour the publishers.

Michael Leddy said...

Matthew, I’m not sure how the possibilities you mention — which all sound great — can sustain B & N stores on their present scale. What you describe sounds more Kinko’s-like to me.

Pete, for me, even the smallest library sale has more items of interest than B & N. But I like to buy what I can from B & N.