Monday, February 19, 2018

Beyond Barnes and Noble

Last week, Barnes and Noble conducted its own version of a Saint Valentine's Day massacre by laying off many of its most experienced employees--including receiving managers, the people who keep the shelves stocked. While this move is meant to save them money, my gut feeling is that it's a desperation move that isn't going to save them. Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader gives the chain nineteen months before they go under. I'm not that optimistic; I think they'll declare bankruptcy in less than a year.

Before I got married, I used to hang out at my local Barnes and Noble when I wanted to get out of my apartment for a while. It was nice to browse, buy some books, and get a drink and a treat at the cafe while I wrote. These days, I seldom make it to the bookstore, and I don't spend as much there as I used to. Many of the books I buy are ebooks, and when I do order a paper book, I tend to get it from Amazon or at a convention. So while I'll be sad to see Barnes and Noble go, losing it won't have a big effect on my daily life. It'll be much more difficult for all the people employed by Barnes and Noble, and for authors who see a drop in sales through no fault of their own.

That said, when Barnes and Noble goes, there may be more opportunities for local bookstores, especially if they can host readings and other activities. Personally, I think Amazon will continue to be my default book store due to convenience and selection.

What kind of bookstores do you have in your area? Would you be affected if Barnes and Noble goes bankrupt? Feel free to share in the comments.


Pat Dilloway said...

The only B&N I liked going to was one that sold used books. My late sister would usually buy a whole bunch of books. But now most of my reading is ebooks so I don't need to go there very often.

James Pailly said...

I feel like Barnes and Nobles lost its way a long time ago. It started feeling less like a bookstore and more like a coffee shop that also sold books. The problem is that as the cafe started getting bigger, the floorspace for books got smaller. And then the last time I was there, I discovered they'd added a large toys and games section. As a result, there was even less floorspace for books, and so there was less of a selection for me to choose from... and less reason for me, as an avid reader, to want to come back.

Sandra Almazan said...

I don't think our local store sells used books, Pat, but it might help B&N if more stores did so.

Once you get caught in a vicious circle like that, James, it's hard to recover.

Tara said...

I used to take my kids to story time there, but stopped going once they were older. I prefer the local bookstore closer to my house. If I want coffee there's a Starbuck's on every corner.

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