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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Farewell to Arms? (or, The Demise of Barnes and Noble?)

I think the writer is spot on when it comes to this particular business running a rat race well behind the proverbial curve. Who could not see this coming a decade ago? I did and I am not much of a clairvoyant.

The devolution has been painful to witness, especially given my line of work.


Anonymous said...

Visited my BN today, to brouse, not to buy. A good place to meet women you'd want to talk to.


Marketing competition is not unlike a war. The book store as a 'Payload delivery system' is going the way the way of the manned bomber and fighter plane.

Not about performance, but practicality. We just don't have need for very many of them any more, not when technology makes it easier, faster and cheaper to do it a better way.

Publishers, take notice.

Robert said...

I worked for B&N about 13 years ago. It is a different world now. I go into the store I worked at and it makes me sad. Entire sections (including the Civil War) have been reduced to mere shelves of really non important works. Gone are the deep back lists and replaced with toys, games, nick naks, (read higher profit margin) and loads of best seller shlock that can be purchased at any supermarket or drug store. Gone are real book people and hired are those who just need a job and work cheap. Most can find James Patterson or Danielle Steele but ask about something meaningful and MAYBE they can find it in their computer. Oh well, who needs a printed book when you can purchase a Nook right at the front door. Oh yeah, don't forget your Starbucks on the way out. Sad really.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it IS 'a different world now'. Back in the day, it was 'publish or perish', now it's 'evolve or be left behind.'

How can publishers deliver marketable content at a competitive price?

Whether it's the Civil War or science fiction, how do we get customers to PAY to READ?

In his heyday, Dick Clark, 'America's Teenager', told us he had 10,000 45rpm records. Sounds like a walk-in closet.

I've got 10 MILLION records on my computer. Comparing now and then is no way to go forward.

"He who demands the future, COMMANDS the future!"


Anonymous said...

The shelves of our local Barnes and Noble are thinly populated. I am really surprised by how few books they have in some of the history sections. More books are face out and more shelf space is bare than ever before. This ain't good.

Tery Welsh

poppie_1138 said...

I agree with the tone of these comments. I have watched B&N degrade in substance and quality over the past few years. The History section has diminished to two shelved at the B&N in my town. Lots of easy reading fad books infest the Shelves. Vampires and Zombies have become the main fare. I believe some of it can be attributed to the instant gratification Americans have become used to over the years. Reading a book of substance takes time and disicpline, but it is alwaus worth it. Read War and Peace, its amazing. It's scope and granduer could be compared to the grand canyon. As far as independent book stores the one that have the best success are the used book stores. Some great deals and good looking books can be found in them.