Thursday, January 31, 2013

Barnes & Noble Closing 200 Stores!

The big news in the bookstore world this week was the announcement that Barnes & Noble plans to close a third of its store over the next decade. That will add up to about 200 stores. A Barnes & Noble executive said in an interview that the chain will close at least 20 stores per year. The closure of stores is nothing new. Barnes & Noble has closed about 15 stores per year for the past ten years, but it used to be that it would open just as many or even more stores than it closed. Last year, the chain closed 14 stores and didn't open any.

This news is hardly surprising, but still quite sad. I love Barnes & Noble. I love the atmosphere - classy yet relaxed. I love the cafe. I love the wide selection of books and often CDs and DVDs as well as journals, games, and puzzles. I love the author events they host. I love the big armchairs where you can sit for hours.

I love independent bookstores too. Oftentimes I like them even more, because they have more personality. But I think the day of the charming mom and pop store versus the big bad chain bookstore are over. We saw with the closure of Borders that no one wins when a bookstore dies.

Physical bookstores are all at risk, be they The Tattered Cover or The Kings English or Changing Hands or Barnes & Noble. With the ease of buying a cheap book on Amazon (or even BN.com), fewer people bother buying a book in a traditional bookstore. Not to mention that books are often cheaper and more convenient at Target or Walmart. Of course, the main threat now is e-books. I have no problem with e-books. I love their convenience, and I don't want them to go away. But the fact remains that they have reduced the need for physical bookstores.

It's not as though physical bookstores aren't still busy. The problem is that the visitors are browsers not buyers. I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I frequently go into Barnes & Noble, write down book titles that I like, and then look for them at the library or on Amazon. It's even worse with the Amazon app where you can scan the barcode and see the cheaper paper or Kindle price while you're standing in the bookstore. Guilty of that too.

What do we stand to lose if Barnes & Noble eventually shuts down its physical operation entirely? Tons. We'd still have independent bookstores and online retailers. But when a bookstore closes, everyone loses. Readers have less choice in where to buy their books. Authors have fewer places in which to sell their books and fewer opportunities to catch a bystander's eye with an enticing cover. Publishers will need fewer employees to market their books yet also have fewer publicity opportunities. And people who work at Barnes & Noble will have no jobs.

I hate to see Barnes & Noble shutter any of their stores, but I desperately hope they are able to find a plateau point where they can maintain a strong presence in the country and also remain financially stable. Life would not be as bright without the green Barnes & Noble sign smiling at me as I walk in the store.

What do you think about B&N's announcement?

Do you shop at B&N much?

Do you plan to shop there more in the future?

29 comments:

  1. Oh no! I live in the Philippines and I've never been to the United States yet, but I've always wanted to go there. I see B&N stores in the movies and in my friends' posts, and it seems like a place where I just want to sit down for hours. I hope they don't close down completely, I still want to be able to do that! :(

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is excellently written. I am a HUGE fan of Barnes and Noble and have even been more so, since the closing of Borders and moving down to Southern California. Since the closure of borders. I have stopped purchasing books from Amazon or using Kindle(I have an IPad with the Kindle App, but all books read on there are free or Netgalleys). Meaning I only really purchase books from B&N now and sometimes Target. This post makes me really sad since I figured this would be happening for many reasons, but also since a beloved B&N in my hometown was closed. Thankfully, My hometown still has one more B&N but still, this is VERY sad for me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm not surprised by this. It's like with Borders closing down . . . no one buys books anymore. At least not like they used to.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh no! I'm going to be devastated if Barnes and Noble closed! I love that store. I love getting books from there. I really hope they manage to maintain their business. It would be really sad if they didn't :(

    ReplyDelete
  5. Aw crap! I started shopping B&N when Borders shut down totally! I can't buy my books cheap at Amazon! 90% of the books I buy are Mass Market paperback and Amazon NEVER discounts those! EVER!! It's soooo irritating that they don't do that. At least with B&N I get like one coupon a month--still irritating--and I get my 10% members discount and free shipping.

    Really hoping they are not going to close any by me. I honestly love the physical bookstores because I love being in one and getting the instant gratification of getting a book asap. With online, you have to WAIT! I hate waiting! Why do I want to wait days after a release to start a book when it can be bought in the store?!

    While I love living in this day and age--omg, did I really just says that?--I still love the physical book more than the ebook. The only time I buy ebooks are for the special novellas authors write or when the ebook is just a lot cheaper than the paper book--which I think for that part it's because they are indie authors.

    If only Amazon would discount their Mass Market paperbacks I would be safe and a full on customer, but since they don't, I rarely shop them for books.

    Okay, comment ran too long, sorry about that! Just got really upset and overworked!

    ReplyDelete
  6. We don't have a Barnes & Noble store here, but it always makes me sad when I read that another bookstore is closed :( I really love my e-books, because it's easy to bring an e-reader with me when I'm on vacation. But nothing can beat my love for paperbacks and buying books in the store..

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jeez, I really hope our store is not on the list. It is the only for about 100 miles. And I already have to drive 45 minutes to get to it. I think I will cry for day if it does.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This makes me so sad. Columbia is already has a dearth of book stores and no indies. B&N is the ONLY physical bookstore in the area at all. I really hope they don't shut this one down! I'll cry.

    On a positive note, at least they're not closing every store. Hopefully, this will help save the ones that are still going to be out there and save the company itself.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It is so sad. I think a problem too, is that they are so much cheaper online. I can practically buy 3 books, even at the B&N online site, at the same price as 2 in store. Maybe if they had some more in-store sales and coupons? I mean, they do have some, but adding more for only in-store books might help a bit. I feel bad I buy most of my books online, but I do try to head into the store and grab something on occasion.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just shopped at B&N last night! This makes me so sad!!! I can't lose my favorite book store!! I love the atmosphere as well!

    ReplyDelete
  11. It is really sad. I admit that I don't shop at our B&N nearly as much as I used to. With a Kindle and a Nook in my arsenal and my kid & hubby both having Kindles themselves, the need just isn't there anymore. But, my daughter and I still make special trips there to hang out and yes, still buy physical copies. I would miss it if it was gone and we don't have the option of small book stores. What annoys me though, is that they don't have all the books I want. There are published authors who's books I still have to order in and if I am going to do that I might as well have it shipped to me for free from Amazon. I guess I should make a bigger effort to support my local store more though. Sorry...I kind of got on a tangent here.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Let's hope the stores we support stay around. I really love B&N and I the stores I support will stay around!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This makes me SO sad. I struggle to find any bookstores around me at all anymore, now that Borders is gone...B+N and 1-2 independents are all that's left. Sigh. I will admit I do my fair share of just-browsing, but especially now that my son is old enough to play in the kid's reading area, I will be sad if they close! It's such a fun reading environment for him.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love Barnes & Noble, always have, so it's really sad to me. I often find myself at a large Barnes and Noble during lunchtime, browsing magazines and books. But like you, I have to admit that lately it's a lot more of just that - browsing - than actually buying. Like you, I often write down the titles of books I find interesting and then try to get them at the library on buy them for my Nook. But I love the environment and just walking among all the books. I'll be really sad if they close their doors entirely.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's always so sad when a bookstore closes. Thanks for this post, it's a good reminder that we should sometimes consider shelling out a few extra bucks to support brick and mortar businesses if we enjoy visiting them.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    ReplyDelete
  16. Aw! that is so sad! Though, I am much of a browser also. I usually get my books at a library or through amazon also. If I like a book from the library then I purchase it for my collection for a future read, but other than that, I don't usually purchase books from B&N anymore. I do go there about 4x/wk though. Hubby and I have coffee at Starbucks, sit for a couple hours, and read magazines, or study. I have to say, I will miss that if they get rid of the one we have here. I love B&N and my 6yr old loves it also. I want him to grow up loving books and going to B&N to read and just enjoy the time spent reading, but if they get rid of them, that won't happen. I guess, if we really want to help, we should shop there more often, but unfortunately, I don't have all the money in the world to buy the 200 books/year I read!

    ReplyDelete
  17. They just can't compete with the prices you can get online.. for example today i was gong to purchase a book, and I am lucky to have a Barnes & Nobles right down the street from me, the book to by online was $14, but when i choose the option to pick it up in the store, or just go down there and buy it in the store it is $24! that just makes no sense. why would i choose to buy it in the store when i can buy it online and pay for shipping and it still be less that $24. Barnes & Nobles needs to start being more competitive unless they want to continue loosing their stores. It is a shame because i do enjoy being in the bookstore as much as you do! - Katie @ Inkk

    ReplyDelete
  18. WHAT?? This is horrible! D: Last year Borders disappeared, and if B&N were to disappear... I would only be stuck with a library and online shopping. B&N is such a relaxed place. There's places to sit and type, a small cafe, and books and movies/CDs to browse! Who wouldn't want to go there? (Not to mention that where I live, it's always packed).

    Why are they lowering the amount of bookstores around?

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'll be sad if B&N closes. I purchase most of my books from that bookstore. I'll be honest though, I don't have the opportunity to stop in to the store as often as I like. There are none in my neck of the woods, so I maybe get to enjoy the bookstacks and the coffee a few times around Christmas. I do tend to purchase a lot of books off off bn.com though. Especially now that I have a Nook. Still, I spend easily over $100 a year on B&N books.

    ReplyDelete
  20. It's sad, but to be honest I don't remember the last time I set foot in a physical bookstore. I get all my books off of Amazon or other websites.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I hope this doesn't happen I love B&N and buy all my books at either the store and or online with them, I pay 25 dollars a year to have free shipping and 10 percent off so this is crazy I would say with my homeschool curr. that I buy at B&N plus books with kids books included I spend way over $1000 dollars all my home school stuff is almost 300 so this is crazy plus I refuse to purchase anymore from Amazon as they have hateful forums and promote reviews that are "fake" and do nothing about it. I honestly pray and hope that B&N does not fall all the way. Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
  22. WOW! This is just crazy! I hate that they are shutting down so many stores. I only have one B&N near me and it's takes an hour and a half drive to get there. That's the only reason why I books online and not at the store.

    I'm scared of books going away. I love a psychical copy of the book in my hands.

    As far as e-readers. Currently, I do not own on. I read the books off my iphone. And I only use e-books for review books and indie books. The rest I all buy the actual book.

    ReplyDelete
  23. !!!! This is so sad. What are we going to do without these physical bookstores...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for posting this!! I'm upset at the fact that the bookstore doesn't seem to be doing well, but I'm hoping that by shutting down stores, this will allow them to stay in business. I am just as guilty as you are of browsing and not buying. It's just that even BN.com sells hardcovers for a dollar or two more than paperbacks, while they can be 8 to 10 dollars more in the store, so I never buy hardcovers there. I do still buy my paperbacks there, but I haven't made a trip to the bookstore in ages because of Amazon. I hate to be a person that contributes to the downfall, but I totally am. =(

    ReplyDelete
  25. Where I live, there aren’t any indie bookstores within a two-hour radius, so B&N is really my only option for making book purchases. And, since after two years of experimentation, I’ve decided that ebooks really aren’t a good use of my money, B&N is even more important to me. I’m definitely sad to hear that they’re closing down these stores, and I really hope they won’t close down any more!

    ReplyDelete
  26. We have a couple great indy stores here in Salt Lake, but I know the B&N closures are going to impact a lot of readers. I'm hoping maybe libraries will step up into this "browsing" space and become a place for readers to gather, to talk about favorite authors, and become a place for readers to purchase books directly from publishers (or amazon) through scan codes or other technology.

    Wouldn't it be great if local libraries worked with local authors and bloggers to add "Recommended by" and "Reviewed by" tags?

    ReplyDelete
  27. A Barnes and Noble store by me closed on Dec. 31st and it made me sad. I love to just walk around the store. although I do usually only buy paperbacks since their hardcovers are cheaper online. They have to do some more incentives for buying in the store. Otherwise why would anyone. I do buy my kids books in the store because they are not going to pick them out online. I was devastated when Borders closed because it was my version of Yoga, go get a tea, snickerdoodle cookie and sit with a book. Sometimes people watch.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I don't live in America and I have never visited but I've heard so much about Barnes and Noble and I look at their online store frequently. If my favourite book stores closed here in Africa, I would be devastated. I really hope that online book stores and ebooks won't replace proper book stores and physical books...the thought saddens me :(

    ReplyDelete
  29. The is definitely one of the reasons I'm not a fan of ereaders. The fact is, if you can buy all the books you want electronically, there really is no need for a store to house physical books. I definitely think there will still at least be bookstores, but by the time we have children our age they'll be a lot different. (Similar to what happened to music stores.)

    We still have 2 B&N stores in Baton Rouge. But I have to imagine in a few years, we'll only be left with one.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments. I appreciate every one! Thank you in advance.

This blog is now an award free zone. I just don't have time to pass on the awards as they deserve.

 
Template: Blog Designs by Sheila