Sunday, May 6, 2018

Barnes & Noble & the future

David Leonhardt, writing in The New York Times about saving Barnes & Noble, quotes Owen Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, an association of independent bookstores:

Once the country emerges from the Trump presidency, I hope we will have a government that takes monopolies seriously. Until then, I’ll be rooting for Barnes & Noble. So, it turns out, are some people who once viewed it as the enemy. “It’s in the interest of the book business,” Teicher says, “for Barnes & Noble not just to survive but to thrive.”
In a 2011 post about Barnes & Noble, I wrote that “Bookstore survival-strategy seems to be premised on everything but books.” At my nearby Barnes & Noble that’s still the case, with larger sections of the store given over to toys and games and collectibles. Leonhardt mentions that the chain is planning “smaller, more appealing stores focused on books.” But his link goes to an article about a Barnes & Noble store whose main attractions are a bar and a restaurant. And oh, there are books, seeming like an afterthought: “No Barnes & Noble would be complete without its books.”

comments: 2

Berit said...

I've actually begun patronizing them the past 1.5-2 yard or so. Previously, I DID prefer Borders for my big-box chain bookstore; their discounting/on sale schedule seemed more applealing, and they were just not as "snobbish with out good cause" as the B&Ns in my neck(s ) of the woods. But, recently, my boyfriend began favoring their cafes for a change of pace while working or studying. And I started wanting to browse for books ("Hang Amazon and their 'discounts'!") I even surprised myself by doing a fair amount of shopping in their growing "other" section, which I initially disdained. With ToysRUs going out, there is actually a fat swath of "toys" which B&N is providing local access to for in-person shopping. I am unaware of other chains which overlap with some of that. Also, interestingly, I've increased my book-buying from both Amazon and B&N this year, and can say that Amazon sends poorl-packed (arrives battered), yellowed, over-stickered, all-but-list-priced genre-fiction paperbacks. B&N features frequent discounts (esp. for "members") on pristine merchandise tidily and safely packed, shipped at just-slower than Prime speeds. These days, I'm pulling for B&N, too! Only took 20 years to shift my allegiances!

Michael Leddy said...

I’ve never experienced a snobbish Barnes & Noble, though I do recall a really unpleasant indie-bookstore clerk.

I’ve already bought great little critters for Talia at B & N. But I hate the idea of a bookstore that isn’t about books, which just gives people more reason to just use Amazon. I want my bookstores. :)