Save Barnes & Noble-what do you think?

In a New York Times opinion article titled Save Barnes & Noble!, David Leonhardt writes about the slow death of the well-known bookstore franchise. His main argument seems to be that Amazon is running Barnes & Noble out of business because of their low book prices, free shipping (for Prime users) and easy access. He says this form of monopoly must be stopped and Barnes & Noble must be saved. What do you guys think? I’d really love to know because I’m a little torn on the subject.

If the title of the article was “Save Bookstores!” I would be 100% on board. Bookstores are my favorite place in the world and I try very hard to frequent and support local bookstores, because I see them as an important part of the community. However, Barnes & Noble isn’t somewhere I often go to, and I will admit it’s mainly because I like smaller bookstores, and if I need a book fast, the prices on Amazon are much better. I do occasionally buy from Barnes & Noble online, but that’s almost only when they have sales.

So, I guess I’m more indifferent to Barnes & Noble closing down then most may be. My biggest concern would be the effect this would have on smaller bookstore, or even stores like Half Price Book, a store I go to all the time. Would the end of Barnes & Noble help or hurt other bookstores? Or would there be no change at all? I’m typically in the mindset of if it’s dying, let it die, when it comes to businesses, but I’m open to having my mind changed, especially when it comes to books.

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14 thoughts on “Save Barnes & Noble-what do you think?

  1. I’m old enough to remember when B&N first arrived on the scene. They outright killed off Waldenbooks and B. Dalton Booksellers, which I never understood because B&N was very expensive right out of the gate and stayed that way. To stay in business to compete with Amazon, it became less about books and more about toys and games and such, so I’m with you on this one: I’m indifferent. I’d love to see some other booksellers fill the void with less of a focus on pretension and atmosphere, more attention on the reading experience. In my area, Half Price Books does some incredible business, and every location is a completely different experience because they sell used books as well as new, all far cheaper than B&N or Amazon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep, that’s how I feel. I think they also make it hard for smaller bookstores to thrive. I also love the idea of recycling books, like they do at Half Price Books so I’d much rather see them do well than Barnes & Noble. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I read a REALLY excellent Twitter thread a couple months ago about why Barnes & Noble is so important. Mostly I think it had to do with Amazon not having a monopoly, and there may have been something about a mega-store allowing smaller stores to stay in business as well. Unfortunately I don’t remember more.

    Personally, I live in a part of the country where small business, ESPECIALLY specialty shops, have a very difficult time. We don’t have small booksellers. If we want a store our choices are B&N and Half Price. We already lost Borders, I would be devastated if we lost B&N too. That’s me, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Also, YES. I think there’s a good chance that if B&N went out of business, everyone else would too. He talked about in the article how Amazon isn’t really worried about selling books, they do it for cheap to gain customers. And he said it’s hurting the publishing industry. If they can’t sell books, they can’t publish. And since Amazon isn’t pushing their non-Dan Brown/James Patterson behemoths, they aren’t selling. It’s hurting the publishers and, in turn, the booksellers. Without B&N keeping the store model viable, stores like Half Price and indie sellers would likely suffer too.

      Full disclosure, I expect that it in the next decade Amazon will put ALL retail stores except department-type stores that sell literally everything (like Target or Kohls) out of business.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, that’s definitely a good point! Amazon really is not only taking over, but they are completely changing the game. You’ve definitely made a good case for saving it!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Yeah I’d be interested to hear more about the pros of B&N being saved. Location is definitely key, so other parts of the country will be less affected, like you said.

      I guess my main question about keeping it is how it will be saved. If it’s going out of business because they can’t compete with Amazon and lower priced book stores (I’m assuming Half Price Books steals a lot of their business) than how will the company be saved? I’m not really thrilled with our government stepping in and giving B&N a bailout, because if they can’t make it today, is a bailout really going to help them in the long run? Idk, maybe I’m thinking into it too much, which is probably the case!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I guess he had mentioned in the article about government doing something to stop amazon’s monopoly, and I don’t like them getting involved, but if it’s just people taking it into their own hands, I’m all for it!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it is, but Amazon is much bigger and deals with lots of other products. But the format is very similar to Book Depository. You can find almost any book on Amazon and you can find a lot for very cheap, which makes it hard to buy from other places because the prices are so hard to beat.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Book Depo’s edge is its free shipping. It’s hard to compete against better price when the product quality is the same. Except if you consider the buying experience. Someone once mentioned(I forgot where) that online shopping lacks the serendipity of buying at bookstores. It’s a little bit like the paper vs e-book debate.

        And you’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The first time I went into a B&N was back when they were just getting started, and it was amazing.
    I loved being able to find the books I wanted, sit in a comfy chair and read a bit while no one bothered me, and I could also get a coffee. It was my favorite store, but that was a long time ago. I think that if B&N wants to stay in business, they need to improve their relationship with their customers. I had a 1st gen Nook until I got an email from B&N saying that they were no longer going to support it and my only options for accessing my ebooks would be on my phone or buying a new Nook. I hate reading ebooks on my phone, and I couldn’t afford a new Nook. Mind you, this email was sent in less than 30 days before support was ending. My response was to find a way to transfer my ebooks to another reader and decide to never buy another ebook from B&N.

    I do still go to their physical store, but I typically only buy books when I have a coupon, there is a sale, or I find something I’ve been wanting to read on their bargain shelves/tables. I never buy anything from their cafe anymore because there are much better coffee shops not far from the store, and I would go to other bookstores if B&N wasn’t the closest to where I live. It’s within walking distance, whereas every other store means taking a bus or crossing the Bay to go into the city.

    As much as I don’t care for monopolies, Amazon provides excellent customer service, is often less expensive, and is providing it’s customers with what they want. Until that changes, I don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon or not affecting other businesses, like B&N, trying to compete. People complain about Amazon in much the same way they used to about Wal-Mart, but at one time Wal-Mart was a great convenient and inexpensive store. I stopped shopping there years ago because their products and customer service declined passed the point that I was willing to tolerate. If Amazon ever gets to be that way, it will probably be because another business outshines them and/or their customer service and products decline in the same way Wal-Mart’s did.

    Liked by 1 person

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