Some Tough Love for Barnes & Noble

Some Tough Love for Barnes & NobleBookstores are my lifeblood, both as a reader and as an author. Their survival, therefore, is something I’m keenly interested in and that’s why I found this post on Reddit to be particularly interesting: How Barnes & Noble is killing itself, partially quoted here to save you a click:

“Zero sympathy for sitting on their laurels and refusing to innovate for a decade. Now it’s too late. I only have sympathy for the workers, it’s terrible for them.

But B&N has a horrendously lazy business model. They stopped innovating after adding coffee and their tablet (both great ideas).

But off the top of my head:

Where is there official YouTube channel? Where’s the podcast? They have enough clout to do long form interviews with any author in the world. But they didn’t. Where’s their free online workshops for aspiring writers? Nowhere.

Why didn’t they attempt to have their own knock-off awards ceremony for writers? Best debut novels and all that. They don’t even need to have a ceremony, just a letter in the mail and the books in a curated space in the store. Do you know how many authors would kill for the tiniest amount of recognition and publicity?”

The post has more detail and it’s an interesting breakdown so I encourage you to look into it if you’re interested in the business of bookselling.

The key takeaway is that bookstores are a business, and need to turn a profit to survive. Book stores (and authors!) must continue to innovate their craft to meet the changing needs and interest of their readers. Blaming Amazon is lazy, and also patently untrue. Barnes & Noble has only itself to blame for its success or lack thereof.

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