Thursday, August 3, 2017

What’s So Very Wrong With Barnes & Noble?

Barnes & Noble will continue to shrink and eventually go under or get sold for cheap.  It’s not just Amazon, e-books, or the change in consumer reading and buying habits that threaten it.  Unfortunately, it is running up against its own incompetence.

Why do I say this?

Let’s start with a few things:

Their pricing stinks.  I just bought a new $32 hardcover book for $29.  B&N, if you buy their membership at an annual fee of $25 will give you a 10% discount.  That membership should be free and then should give more than a 10% discount.

Their customer service is ignorant of the books it sells.  In one store that I had look up the book title to make sure it was in stock, the clerk was unfamiliar with it.  Meanwhile, Time magazine just ran a two-page spread about the book.

I also looked for a copy of The Cooperstown Casebook, a new book from St. Martin’s Press, about the selection process for baseball’s hall of fame. There was only one B&N store selling it.  No one else in the city or Westchester County (home to 9 million people) had copies.  I said: “Why not?”  He said the store buyer felt this title didn’t match with the store’s buying demographics.  Let me get this right, B&N thinks no one in Manhattan or Westchester (a baseball-centric area) is interested in a baseball book that was just written about in the Wall Street Journal?  Hmm, looks like sound judgment there.

This chain just rots at the top.  Its last few CEOs have zero experience in book retail or book publishing.  How do you run the nation’s largest and most prestigious bookstore chain without such experience?  They will never succeed if they don’t have a bibliophile in charge.

It boggles my mind at how the brand is just getting shredded by its own stupidity and lack of initiative.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Barnes & Noble needs to think like Amazon and run its stores with the hunger of the indies. It needs to house around the clock events and author signings. It needs to use its space 24/7 and have after-hours book-related events or even rent its space for cool non-book events. It needs a community outreach program, partnering with local schools, businesses, and government agencies to get people into its stores.  It also needs to be staffed by knowledgeable bookworms.  

It needs to wake up before it’s in a coma.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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