Author Topic: How Barnes & Noble bounced back  (Read 506 times)

APP

How Barnes & Noble bounced back
« on: April 16, 2023, 01:11:35 AM »
Though Barnes & Noble still has a way to go, this is definitely GOOD news! :tup3b We can't afford to lose bookstores. Though Amazon is critical to most of us writers, the health of the book industry requires competition.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/apr/15/barnes-and-noble-bookstores-james-daunt
 

alhawke

Re: How Barnes & Noble bounced back
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2023, 12:58:44 PM »
Hope so. Barnes & Noble has become one of my biggest sellers wide for ebooks (greater than Apple lately). But paperbacks are still pretty sparse for Indie writers in their stores. I was hoping Amazon's bookstores would take off and offer more possibility at selling paperbacks for us. That doesn't seem to be happening.

I agree, I also think the competition is good for the market.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: How Barnes & Noble bounced back
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2023, 11:15:17 PM »
The article is very encouraging. I'd often thought that B & N might have a chance with the right leadership. It appears it now has that.

Now, if only there were a branch anywhere near me... Well, really, there are a couple, but one has terrible parking, and the other one is right next to Farmer's Market (has a lot of parking, but it's hard to find a space). If I could teleport to Manhattan, I'd go browse right now.

There was a nice, three-story one in my area, but the mall it was in wouldn't make it a good enough deal on rent. Now, the space is vacant again and has been for some time. Maybe I should suggest the space to James Daunt.  grint


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PJ Post

Re: How Barnes & Noble bounced back
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2023, 12:57:36 AM »
Thanks for the article. Retailing is only going to get more chaotic. The old rules don't always apply, at least not in the way we expect them to. And then we have to contend with AI.

I fear traditional publishing and bookselling have a tough row ahead. Although, it's possible we may get an anti-corporate backlash resulting in a more localized focus on communities and their needs - like the old downtown shopping experience that Daunt alludes to.

The future continues to be more familiar and simultaneously weirder than I ever expected.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: How Barnes & Noble bounced back
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2023, 02:22:23 AM »
A lot of avid readers still like to browse in bookstores when they can find them. And a lot of older books have yet to make it to digital format, which can make looking in a used bookstore also worthwhile.

I remember reading that Amazon execs were surprised at the way their bookstores worked. They'd expected them to be like showrooms where people would look at the books and then order online. But in fact, people preferred buying in the store if they were going to buy a paper format.

Somewhat earlier, Waterstones had a similar experience. They'd made a deal with Amazon to sell Kindles in exchange for getting a cut of any purchases people made via Kindle while in the store. (I have  hard time visualizing people walking around, looking at books and then buying them elsewhere, though that would make sense for ebook purchases. I think it's one of the patterns that killed Borders.)

However, Waterstones didn't sell as many kindles as it expected, and people didn't spend all that much time walking around the store, kindle in hand, buying titles they liked from Amazon. Go figure! That turned out to be another miscalculation.

(The Waterstones situation is retroactively ironic because the company they'd originally planned to make a deal with was B & N. However, they'd have fared even worse with that, since B & N eventually killed its own Nook program in the UK, burning a lot of buyers in the process.)


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LilyBLily

Re: How Barnes & Noble bounced back
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2023, 09:26:39 AM »
According to the numbers in this article, Daunt is achieving what he set out to do. Then again, I remember Borders also as a place where people browsed--but apparently did not buy enough. Or perhaps Borders' failure may have had something to do with head-to-head competition plus over-expansion. We've all seen over-expansion kill numerous previously solid store chains. If both big chains were doing the same deals with publishers, then the customer experience would be boring. Same books on the same tables.
 

Hopscotch

Re: How Barnes & Noble bounced back
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2023, 11:26:55 AM »
So chains found that the coffee shop model does't sell many books?  Or the glitz model or tourist trinket shop model?  Who'd'a guessed.  What sells books is a live-human booklover anxious to talk books and happy to recommend.  Like booksellers in most any used bookstore.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: How Barnes & Noble bounced back
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2023, 11:48:15 PM »
According to the numbers in this article, Daunt is achieving what he set out to do. Then again, I remember Borders also as a place where people browsed--but apparently did not buy enough. Or perhaps Borders' failure may have had something to do with head-to-head competition plus over-expansion. We've all seen over-expansion kill numerous previously solid store chains. If both big chains were doing the same deals with publishers, then the customer experience would be boring. Same books on the same tables.
Personally, I always liked the selection at Borders a little better than at Barnes and Noble.

I think Borders didn't have much of a strategy for surviving in the digital age, or at least, not a consistent one. At one point, Borders dropped most of its website, linking to Amazon's in exchange for getting a cut of all the Amazon sales that came in through Borders links. The problem was that people just started going to straight to Amazon once they discovered Borders no longer sold books online. (People will tend to use the path that involves the fewest clicks.) So Borders tried to bring back its own website, but by then, it was too late.

Borders never tried to develop its own ereader, either. The Nook didn't end up beating the Kindle, but at least it was an attempt and kept B & N in the game longer. In contrast, Borders sold things like Sony ereaders. (Rememeber those? Neither do I. And in any case, the resulting ebook profits went to Sony, not Borders.)

Two things kept B & N afloat long enough for Daunt to take over--trad publishers and income from contracts to run college bookstores. Trads might have supported Borders instead if it had looked like a more viable alternative. As for college book stores, that was a regular income and sizable income. That operation was to some extent concealed by being run out of the Nook division, but it was the only part of B & N that actually made a clear profit in some years. Borders had no similar source of income.


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APP

Re: How Barnes & Noble bounced back
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2023, 12:56:22 AM »
Speaking of B&N reinventing themselves, here's another interesting article on that subject. Oh, at one time I had a Nook, but that was a while ago. Today, I'm a firm Kindle user, and I see no reason to change. But that's just me.

Barnes & Noble is reinventing itself but not its e-readers
https://www.theverge.com/2023/7/29/23787280/barnes-noble-nook-ereader-daunt-reinvention-eink
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: How Barnes & Noble bounced back
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2023, 05:36:07 AM »
Interesting!

The Nook might be a way to draw some international buyers away from Amazon. The barrier there is all the Nook UK owners who got burned when Nook UK shut down. (Someone else took over the platform and was able to provide the same books, but other Nook purchases, like games, were just lost.) Anyone who remembers that would move cautiously, if at all.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter