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Old 08-31-2010, 06:49 AM   #1
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Another tale of Barnes and Nobles woes

Basically, everyone says they come in to read books and magazines for free. Then they wonder why the store is closing:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/ny...arnes.html?hpw
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:23 AM   #2
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Dora Schulman, a shoe saleswoman who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1960s, left clutching a CD. “It’s a pity,” she said. “All the stores on my route are closing — first Tower Records, then Blockbuster, now this.”
Records, video rental, books - all going digital.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:55 AM   #3
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Not that this might mean it's the truth, but maybe some insight that B&N is giving to some of their employees

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...88#post1084988
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:24 AM   #4
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“I’m just killing time,” said Mr. Cha, a 30-year-old lawyer, his hands stuffed deep in his pockets. “I’ve been coming here to read Bill Simmons’s ‘Book of Basketball,’ about a chapter at a time.”
Quote:
“Oh, I really am sad,” said Lillian Kelly, a 70-year-old retiree, upon hearing the news that the store would close. “I love buying my greeting cards here.”

Ms. Kelly said she visited the store at least twice a week, usually heading upstairs to read magazines and to pick up a sandwich and cup of Starbucks coffee.

“They’re getting business out of me, I suppose,” she said. “Even though I’m sitting there reading magazines for free.”
Quote:
“There are other reasons that people come to this bookstore,” Mr. Hawkins said. “You don’t have park benches on the street anymore. It’s hard to find a place where you can sit down and have a cup of coffee.”
Quote:
A teenager in a turquoise T-shirt walked out, scarfing down a scone, but with no books in his hand.
Quote:
Melissa Rosati, an adjunct professor of publishing at Pace University, said she bought nearly everything online but came to the store on Monday to spend a $25 gift card on “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell.
And I think this quite nicely sums up the whole thing:
Quote:
“It is a community gathering space,” Ms. Blum said. “I think the larger bookstores have worked hard to become those kinds of spaces.”
A community gathering space apparently can't support a business... who knew!
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by queentess View Post
And I think this quite nicely sums up the whole thing:


A community gathering space apparently can't support a business... who knew!
They are doing something wrong then. Red Emma's in Baltimore is doing well and they are definitely a community gathering place (they even have a row of computers set up for public use). It helps that the food and beverages there are very good. They are also specialized, so that no doubt helps: they have a very progressive/alternative/anarchist/diy slant, they are a worker-owned collective, and their food is fair trade/vegetarian/vegan. They have identified a segment of the population to appeal to and they cater to it. It's my favorite bookstore (along with the Booknook, a used bookstore that is much closer to where I live). I don't think bookstores (especially used ones) are going away any time soon. I do think that the gigantic temples to Book-capitalism will wither away, in favor of smaller, leaner specialized stores. I would rather drive to Charles Village and pay full retail to support an organization promoting an economic model I approve of and offering books otherwise difficult to find than get a cheaper price on-line. Homo-Economicus is a figment haunting the minds of ideologues.

Luqman

Last edited by luqmaninbmore; 08-31-2010 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:19 PM   #6
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I couldnt even imagine what their lease would be across the street from Lincoln Center.
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Old 08-31-2010, 05:48 PM   #7
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They aren't closing because of a handful of freeloaders. People have been wasting time in bookstores for decades now.

They're closing because a) people are buying more and more books and ebooks online, b) we're in a major recession that is killing consumer spending, and last but certainly not least, c) their lease was up and they were facing a huge increase.
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Old 08-31-2010, 05:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luqmaninbmore View Post
They are doing something wrong then. Red Emma's in Baltimore is doing well and they are definitely a community gathering place... they have a very progressive/alternative/anarchist/diy slant, they are a worker-owned collective, and their food is fair trade/vegetarian/vegan.
I don't think you can compare the costs of running a small Commie bookstore co-op, that accepts PayPal donations, to a 4-floor behemoth in a prime, affluent Manhattan location. That B&N is/was enormous. (And busy.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by luqmaninbmore
I don't think bookstores (especially used ones) are going away any time soon.
Yeah, they will. They'll end up like record stores -- you'll wake up one morning and the once ubiquitous (in many sizes) will be few and far between, highly specialized, and with even worse margins than before.

Used bookstores may stick around for awhile, but as fewer and fewer paper books get made, the less there will be for the used stores to sell, no?
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Old 08-31-2010, 05:58 PM   #9
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It's funny to see the cycle. First they are the Big Bad Bookstore putting the independents out of business, and now they are the Friendly Neighborhood Bookstore that is being closed by competition from Amazon.

It's almost as if people have lost their sense of cause and effect. You cannot simultaneously bemoan the loss of your neighborhood B&N and go there to browse and then buy your books online.

Are we becoming a nation of moochers? Do we not realize that someone has to pay for the stuff we mooch, and that there is a tipping point beyond which there are too many moochers and not enough payers to keep the content alive?

Somebody has to feed the dog that feeds the fleas.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:12 PM   #10
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I want a book that's published by B&N, and only sold at the physical bookstore; it's not available in the online catalog. Last time I went to my local B&N store, they didn't have it. I wandered all over the store trying to figure out where it would be, before giving up and waiting in line for ten minutes at the info counter to find out it's not in stock. They didn't know when they'd get it in ("we get shipments on Tuesdays") and they don't have a way to specifically order it.

Shrug. It'll eventually show up used at Amazon. I'd much rather buy it new, because I really want to support the author... but the first editions are available used for a couple of dollars, and the author's said the revised version isn't that different.

I'm not surprised the brick-and-mortar stores are dying.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:44 PM   #11
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Eh. I live in a town of about 10,000 and we have at least six bookstores. Many of them are "bookstores and" - coffeshop, restaurant, B&B - but what we *don't* have is a big chain retail bookstore.

Which is probably why we have so many bookstores.

Hey, I've spent plenty of time in Borders when I lived in the big city, but as the chain stores start dying, and since I live somewhere where the nearest one is over an hour away, I have to say I'm not going to be sad to see the big chains die. They killed bookstores, really. It's just karma.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:24 PM   #12
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Of course, if a large chain bookstore doesnt have your book in stock doesnt mean a small independent one will. Probably even less of a chance.

I also noticed since joining MR that new/used independent bookstores are more prevalent in certain areas of the country. Some areas like mine have few-to-none. So the big box store is all we have. The indies cant afford the leases.

For laughs I googled used bookstores and the closest one was 35 miles away one way.

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Old 08-31-2010, 07:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
They're closing because a) people are buying more and more books and ebooks online, b) we're in a major recession that is killing consumer spending, and last but certainly not least, c) their lease was up and they were facing a huge increase.
I think it's more like c, a, b ... the recession isn't enough to close this location ... and signalling publicly so far in advance might also be a way to put pressure on the landlord. It sounds like a great flagship-like location ... and a great place to showcase the Nook.

Last edited by SensualPoet; 08-31-2010 at 07:40 PM. Reason: trimmed quote
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:45 AM   #14
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I have to say I'm not going to be sad to see the big chains die. They killed bookstores, really. It's just karma.
Well, maybe they did, Kate, but they didn't act alone. If people had simply kept on buying their books at their beloved independent bookstore, the big chains would have gone out of business. It isn't the big chains that drove the knife into the independents' backs, but the buyers.

Now these people are choosing to patronize Amazon over the b&m stores.

This is America and we generally get what the majority wants. It's a bit of a curse, when you think about it, the tyranny of the majority, but there it is.

When the majority choose cheap Chinese-made goods over pricier goods manufactured in America, can they really complain about losing jobs to cheap overseas manufacturers? As I say, it's as if we've lost our ability to perceive cause and effect.

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Old 09-01-2010, 12:58 AM   #15
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As I say, it's as if we've lost our ability to perceive cause and effect.

I think you are giving us too much credit -- human beings in general, across time and space, show little of that ability on any but the smallest scale.
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