Yellow Pages |   News Updates |   Local Jobs |   Events Calendar |   Movie Times | Recycling
Rocklin and Roseville Today Local Events
contact add event advertise 

Barnes & Noble: Gone By New Year's?



levin.jpg

If anyone gives you a Barnes & Noble gift card, be sure to cash it in by the end of the year.

This may be the last year that Barnes & Noble bookstores remain open.

It's bad news for people who love books.  It's worse news for the next generation of readers, who may never experience buying a book in a bookstore.

B&N has been closing about 20 stores per year since 2012 and has said it will continue to do so for the next several years. But its financial position is bleak.

This follows a decades-long period of expansion, moving into neighborhoods where privately-owned bookstores thrived, destroying those stores with cut-price best-sellers, and all but owning the book business.

Borders collapsed because of poor choices -- weak locations, an overemphasis on music, and, worst of all, selling off its online bookstore to Amazon for $20 million in the 1990s.  Chump change, by today's standards.

So why is B&N on the ropes if it has virtually no competition today from chains or privately owned bookstores?

Five reasons.

First, Amazon makes it so easy to buy books.

Second, publishers thrashed B&N by selling best-sellers at deep discounts in non-traditional outlets such as supermarkets, Wal-Mart and Costco, thus removing a key source of revenue for the chain.

Third, the woefully underfunded Nook is competing with Amazon's Kindle, which is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Fourth, the antiquated model of printing books on spec, putting them on trucks, and crossing your fingers that they'll sell doesn't work in the internet print-on-demand era.

And fifth, book buyers want decent customer service. At B&N these days, the only way to find a sales clerk is to attempt to shoplift.

The company that owns QVC nearly bought B&N a couple of years ago, presumably to sell low-cost jewelry and other tsotchkes in B&N's nationwide chain of stores.

That would have been hello collectible coins and bye-bye books.

Now, one of B&N's key investors has cut the level of its financial stake in the company.  A wise move, alas.

In many B&N stores, it's actually hard to find books.  You've got to wade through toys, umbrellas, Nook displays, chocolate bars, notebooks, birthday cards, and all kinds of other stuff that has stolen shelf space from books.

The publishers have to be running scared.  If B&N suddenly shutters its doors, then billions of dollars of books, which the bookstores take on consignment, go into the limbo of bankruptcy court.

But the fate of B&N weighs most heavily on readers. Literary agent David Vigliano says that the disappearance of bookstores, and the move to buying books on Amazon, represents the death of browsing.

Serendipity -- the sweet surprise of happening upon an unexpected book -- is an experience that can happen only in a bookstore. 

Yes, Amazon's algorithms can point you to books you may like, but there's no substitute for wandering the aisles of a bookstore, looking into a section you might never have visited before, and finding a new author or subject you had never considered.

That experience is on the verge of disappearing.  Barnes & Noble killed privately owned bookstores, and Amazon and technology are killing B&N.  It's downright Darwinian.

Can B&N hang on through the holidays? Most likely. But sad to say, once Black Friday gives way to the 12th day of Christmas, a once-proud book chain may well have reached its final chapter.

And that would be chapter 11, of the Bankruptcy Code.

About Michael Levin

New York Times best-selling author, "Shark Tank" contestant and "World's Greatest Writing Teacher" Michael Levin runs www.BooksAreMyBabies.com, the portal to the ultimate 200+ video channel on writing and getting published. Levin has written more than 100 books, including eight national best-sellers; five that have been optioned for film or TV by Steven Soderbergh/Paramount, HBO, Disney, ABC, and others; and one that became "Model Behavior," an ABC Sunday night Disney movie of the week.





Placer County News Headlines

Blind Attorney Becomes National AdvocateBlind from birth, Chris Danielson is director of public relations for the 50,000-member National Federation of the Blind

Rocklin Crime Report Digest Update (8-1-15)Weekly crime report digest report update from Rocklin PD

California Fires Update Summary (8.1.15)California Fire Updates 2015: Nearly 9,000 firefighters are battling 24 large fires across California

Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015 IntroducedCongressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced legislation to address catastrophic wildfire and invasive species threats

Roseville Location for New Placer County Assessor's OfficeRoseville, CA - To better meet the needs of the public, the Placer County Assessor's Office is pleased to announce the opening of its newest office, located at 10810 Justice Center Drive

California Fires Update Summary (7.31.15)California Fire Updates 2015: Today, 8,000 firefighters are battling 18 large wildfires in California, including several that are on the National Forest and nearing full containment.

Placer Valley Sports Complex: Who's Designing It?Placer Valley Sports Complex, Inc. has reached its first major milestone in the building and development of its brand new, state-of-the-art Regional Sports Complex in Roseville.

25 Year Old Arrested as Arson SuspectThe Placer County Sheriff's Office arrested David Petrashishen, 25 for arson following Sunday's fire in Elverta.

California Statewide Fire Summary (7.30.15)California Fire Updates 2015: Yesterday afternoon and evening fire activity in Northern California significantly increased as temperatures hit the triple digits and the winds became very gusty.

Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (7.30.15)Roseville, CA - Weekly crime report digest update for Roseville, July 30, 2015.

State Moonlights as SlumlordIf a recent study to determine the safety of 29 state-owned buildings tells us anything, it's that the state is a terrible landlord

Community Foundations Fund Senior Nutrition ProgramsAuburn, CA - Thanks to additional funding, Seniors First will soon expand a program established to provide homebound seniors with hot meals and daily social interaction


NEWS: In Case You Missed It