Barnes & Noble to Save Itself through…More Books?

“Barnes and Noble Interior” by Geographer, via Wikimedia.

It’s no secret that bookstores have had a tough decade. Independent shops have struggled. Behemoths like Borders shuttered. And every other day someone publishes a think piece about the imminent demise of the book industry. In response, bookstores have tried to become increasingly creative about the ways they make money. Their shelf space has shrunk, and instead of books, they try to sell music. Board games. Coffee.

But sales have still slipped.

With all of this happening, Barnes & Noble has chosen to do something extraordinary. The chain plans to sell more books.

This shift in strategy has occurred in tandem with Barnes & Noble’s release of some recent sales figures; the company lost $30 million for the second quarter. This was the third month in a row that the bookseller saw a decline in sales.

Sales fell for primarily for the non-book items that the company sells – anyone who has stepped inside one of their bookstores will likely remember the rows and rows of calendars, games, greeting cards, and occasionally, music – but to no one’s surprise, readers are still buying books. In fact, Demos Parneros, the fourth and most recent Barnes & Noble CEO in as many years, noted that “book sales continued to strengthen…[so] we will continue to place a greater emphasis on books, while further narrowing our non-book assortment.”

Hopefully coming home to books will work out for Barnes & Noble. The prodigal bookseller may not be the optimal book buying experience for many, but it is our bookseller, darn it. And in many places, it is the only physical bookstore around.

I can’t be disappointed that Barnes & Noble is returning to sell more books. What can I say? I’m selfish like that. If my local shop devotes more shelf spaces to books, I won’t weep.

45 thoughts on “Barnes & Noble to Save Itself through…More Books?

  1. Now if only they didn’t charge 20 bucks for a hardback people might buy them more often. Or they should at least give a discount when you buy more than one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I want book stores to survive, I need book stores to survive! I love books that I can read anywhere, not like tablets, kindles, etc that you can’t read in the sun. I like the feel of the book itself, where I can physically turn the pages. I wish I still had my hardback encyclopedias. Long live the BOOK!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I love this! I love bookstores and I love the actual feel of books. I love going into a store and smelling the books and holding it in my hands. It makes me sad that the brick and mortars are becoming extinct and I really hope B and N can make it work. I love them!💗

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It really is! So would I! I finally succumbed to an e-reader, but only because I travel a lot, and am a fast reader. But I still always pack a book or two. Nothing beats relaxing with an actual book. And I love perusing books in a store. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I miss the old days when bookstores could be found in most towns and cities. Our nearest local bookstore is closing its doors soon. That will make it a twenty-five mile drive to the next closest bookstore. So, I celebrate any news of a bookstore’s–chain or independent–success. Thanks for posting this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Changing the way that people, or in this case businesses, approach their place in a community is so hard. It would be lovely if B&N could integrate itself more that way. (And even lovelier if indies could thrive.)


  5. I’m excited at that prospect. My B&N (like most) has more toys, games, and music than books. Physical books are important, and even though hardcovers can be pricey, they’re a relatively cheap pleasure compared to some other media like movies and video games. You can get a few hardcover books for the price of a video game, or a family trip to the movie theater. Even more so if you bargain hunt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is something so exciting about getting a great deal on a book, especially if it is one that you’ve been looking for.

      I’ll admit, though, that looking at the price of new hardcovers makes me feel positively ancient. “Back in my day, you could buy a book for…grumble, grumble, harrumph.” I’ll somehow survive my discontent. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. I mostly read paperbacks, which is why I’m hopeful this “increase of books” means B&N might do right by authors. Back in the Walden and B. Dalton days, if you found a mid-list author you enjoyed, you could pretty much carry a small stack of their work in paperback up to the register. I’d like to see that return.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t stepped foot in a B&N in ages because the price of books is too steep for my wallet. However, it makes me sad to see that even this large chain bookstore is having a hard time making ends meet. I’m glad they’ve decided to fight the decline with books, and glad to hear that book sales are what’s keeping them alive. People still want their hardcopies!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They really do! And I know what you mean about the price of books. I have to be really, really interested in one to shell out for a hardcover these days.

      …In retrospect, I’m surprised I cashed out for the Harry Potter books when they came out. Hardcover book 7 was so expensive!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s about time. It really was so frustrating walking into a Barnes and Noble and seeing all of two half-empty shelves of YA books, but then six rows worth of notepads. Like, are you serious? I mean, notepads are great, but I could never find the first book in a series and only brand new books were out. It was awful. And their prices are not competitive in the least. Needless to say, I haven’t shopped at a B&N in some time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And they aren’t even good notepads! (…Or maybe I’m just a notebook snob.)

      Hopefully the book selection will improve soon. Contrary to what my Amazon order history implies, I don’t really want to buy all of my books online.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a fan of the Piccadilly notebooks (Moleskine knock-offs) because they are decent quality at a much less absurd price. My local B&N seemed to phase them out a few months ago, but I was able to snatch up a bunch on clearance even cheaper than online.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. HAHAHAHA! We’re all notebook snobs. We’re writers for goodness sakes. You really think non-writers walk into B&N and go: “Oo! I need a new notebook today.” No. They go to a grocery store or Target or something. Psh! :p

        Mm. I also buy most of my books online, but it’s like ebooks vs physical. It’s just not the same. There is an experience with going to a bookstore and browsing.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I LOVE this! And I really hope it works for them! Since I actually started adding to my library again in the past year I have bought books at B&N and gift cards for others to add to their libraries!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have always loved browsing bookshops, especially the really big stores like Foyles in London and B&N in NewYork. Recently, I’ve noticed that my local Waterstone’s store has been offering big discounts on new hardbacks (matching Amazon – sometimes better). They take orders online and also digital books. In the last two or three months I have bought several hardbacks at £10 each -= the paperbacks are usually £9 when they come out. I only hope their accounting is sound.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indie bookstores are the best! I’m glad to hear that even though one of the big chain stores closed its doors, Bookshop Santa Cruz still exists. (I hadn’t heard of the store before and just checked out its website. It makes me wish I lived closer to CA!)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yay!! Since I only get to treat myself to this store not as often as I like I normally am like a kid in a candy store. Even thinking about doing their membership.

    Liked by 1 person

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