Yellow Pages |   News Updates |   Events Calendar |   Movie Times | Recycling  |   Document Shredding
Rocklin & Roseville Today Events
Celebrating 14 Years Online
HOME

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

All-new Volkswagen Atlas a roomy SUVRoseville, CA,- Looking to fill what it considered a void in its sport utility vehicle offerings, Volkswagen developed the 2018 Atlas.

Lower Cost Electricity Anticipated for Some Placer County ResidentsPLACER COUNTY, CA - In December, residents and businesses will receive the first of several notices informing them about the coming change in their electric energy supply

Groundbreaking for Interstate 80 / Highway-65 Interchange ImprovementsRoseville, CA, - The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA), in partnership with Caltrans, the South Placer Regional Transportation Authority, the Federal Highway Administration

Merry Days & Holly Nights at Squaw Valley Alpine MeadowsOlympic Valley, Calif.- Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is celebrating its second annual Merry Days & Holly Nights, two weeks of spirited events and activities December 16-31.

Southern California Fires Fueled by WindsOver 8,500 firefighters have made significant progress on the wildfires burning in southern California. As containment lines continue to be reinforced, many evacuations have been lifted

$111 Million Budget Adopted by PCWA BoardAUBURN, Calif. , - At its December 7 meeting, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors adopted the Agency's 2018 budget

Woman Found Dead in the American River CanyonAuburn, CA,- The Placer County Sheriff's Coroner's Office has confirmed the identity of the woman found in the American River canyon Wednesday as Yin Wong, 33, of Sacramento.

Reward Offered in Khaki Bandit CaseSACRAMENTO- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of an armed and dangerous individual

Joey Travolta to Speak at MIND Institute(Sacramento, Calif.)-The UC Davis MIND Institute will host Joey Travolta on Wednesday, Dec. 13 as part of the ongoing Distinguished Lecturer Series. Travolta, owner of Inclusion Films

Medieval Armored Combat in Roseville @ the GroundsRoseville, CA - On Dec. 9-10 the newly renovated barn @the Grounds will showcase real knights in real battles in true medieval fashion for the Armored Combat League

Placer County Property Taxes Due ReminderAuburn, CA, - Placer County Treasurer-Tax Collector Jenine Windeshausen reminds property owners that the first installment of their annual property taxes for the 2017-18 tax year

Folsom Zoo Wild Nights and Holiday LightsFolsom, CA,- Many hours of hands-on work by local families, businesses, community groups and city staff go into installing the lights, decorations and displays for the Folsom Zoo


NEWS: In Case You Missed It