Yellow Pages |   News Updates |   Events Calendar |   Movie Times | Recycling
Rocklin & Roseville Today Local Events

Of Henny Penny and Bookstores: Barnes & Noble CEO Responds

In response to a recent opinion piece posted on Rocklin & Roseville Today titled "Barnes & Noble: Gone By New Year's?", Barnes & Noble Chief Executive Officer, Michael P. Huseby, contacted our office to respond. Here is his complete, unedited response.

If you're in business - no matter what business - you know that having to listen to the odd Henny Penny is an occupational hazard. 

You remember Henny Penny, the children's storybook character who felt an acorn drop on its head and believed the sky was falling. The folk tale has become the seminal example of a hysterical, uninformed and mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.     

Recently, some Henny Pennys have begun clucking about the future of bookstores.  The rise of digital content, online selling and broader retail distribution, they say, will kill bookstores.  Why, they ask, will people go to a bookstore when they can buy books online or at department stores? 

Feeding the hysteria are the bankruptcy two years ago of Borders, the national bookstore chain, and recent speculation that Barnes & Noble will accelerate its bookstore closings in coming years.  Some have even suggested the demise of B&N is so imminent that gift cards should be used immediately upon receiving them because the company's financial foundations are shaky. 

To paraphrase one of our nation's great writers, Mark Twain, the reports of bookstores' death have been greatly exaggerated.  Here are the facts:

Barnes & Noble has not adjusted its plan for store closings.  Historically, we have closed about 15 stores a year for the past 10 years. Of that number, some of the stores were closed because they were unprofitable, while others were relocations to better properties.  Barnes & Noble has great real estate in prime locations and the company's new management team is fully committed to the retail concept for the long term.
Why are we so committed? There are several reasons, all focused on delighting our customers.  No other retailer can match the selection of books available at every Barnes & Noble location, supported by award-winning customer service.  Just look at the success of last holiday season to see if we are getting it right. 

Our financial foundation is solid, and we have a strong balance sheet.

Barnes & Noble ended the most recent quarter with $490 million in cash, $276 million higher than the prior year, with no draw on its $1 billion credit facility.

As for the threat of the digital revolution, Barnes & Noble has one of the industry's leading E-commerce sites in, as well as world-class fulfillment centers. In fact, Barnes & Noble can offer something online-only competitors cannot -- a unique in-store experience that allows our customers to interact with knowledgeable booksellers who provide exceptional customer service.

We also have one of the best e-readers on the market - the NOOK.  Given the competitive landscape, we are extremely proud of all we have accomplished with the NOOK business.  In fact, while we may not be a consumer electronics retailer, we have sold more than 10 million NOOK devices because we offer a great reading experience, unmatched content, and we have an army of booksellers supporting them. 

Behind these offerings are our strong partnerships with industry leaders like Microsoft and Pearson.  They say you can judge someone by the company they keep - and we keep some pretty good company.

Moreover, we have strong relationships with our publishing partners and our prices are competitive with any other outlet selling books.  Plus our stores offer a broad range and deep selection of books, including not only bestsellers but also the backlist.  The upshot: Publishers want to work with Barnes & Noble because we understand and support the business.

Here's the kicker that no Henny Penny wants to hear.  People are actually coming back to bookstores more often than they have in years.  Improving bookstores sales trends during fiscal 2014 indicate that customers are reigniting their love affair with physical books.  This trend supports industry reports that suggest eBook growth has moderated and was essentially flat in 2013.

As this trend continues, we believe we are well positioned to delight our customers on whatever platform they choose to connect with us -- in our stores and online, and digitally on our NOOK platform.  And we back it up with more than 40,000 knowledgeable booksellers across the country ready to recommend every customer's next great read.

We have openly acknowledged the challenges within our business and the industry and are adapting to the changing business.  But, the next time Henny Pennys suggest that the sky is falling on bookstores, don't take their word for it.  Step into your local Barnes & Noble store and enjoy the extraordinary experience that delights millions of our customers every day and has made us one of the most beloved brands in the country. 

Barnes & Noble
1256 Galleria Blvd
Roseville, CA 95678
(916) 788-4320

Follow on Facebook

Placer County News Headlines

Roseville and Rocklin Men among those Caught in StingDuring a two-day sting operation last week (October 19-20, 2016) in Folsom (Sacramento County), investigators from CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) cited 35 people for various illegal contracting charges.

In Roseville: Creating an Ecosystem of EntrepreneurshipWhat do Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Auburn, Foresthill, Loomis, Colfax, Kings Beach and Tahoe City all have in common?

Solutions sought in North Tahoe Affordable Housing CrisisKINGS BEACH, Calif. -- Placer County continues to work on ways to improve workforce housing in the North Lake Tahoe region.

Send Silence Packing hosted by Sierra CollegeRocklin, CA - Send Silence Packing is a nationally recognized traveling exhibition of 1,100 donated backpacks, representing the number of college students lost to suicide

Harvest Carnival for Deaf Children in RocklinROCKLIN, Calif., - William Jessup University's American Sign Language Program will host a free Harvest Carnival for all children learning or wanting to learn sign language

Over 500,000 Meals for Malnourished ChildrenROCKLIN - A local effort to pack meals for malnourished children around the world successfully packed 505,440 meals over a three-day period

2 Sporting Events Slated for RocklinRocklin, CA - William Jessup University (WJU) in Rocklin will host the 10th Annual Bill Holtz Warrior Classic on Nov. 4-5 and the Golden State Athletic Conference

Placer County Animal Services Center Now OpenAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County's new Animal Services Center opened its doors to the public today in North Auburn. Now that all the animals have been relocated from their dated

Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation hires Executive Director(Olympic Valley, CA) - Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation (SVSMF) announces that Sandy Chio has joined the organization as Executive Director

Roseville Flash Police Report (10.24.16)Roseville, CA- Roseville police activity and summary report for the period covering October 12-21, 2016.

Subaru Outback features off-road capabilityRoseville, CA- It's considered a sport utility vehicle, but could easily be mistaken for a wagon. I'm guessing the folks at Subaru could care less how the 2017 Subaru Outback

Roseville Gas Price Competition Heats UpRoseville, CA- Gas prices in Roseville have eased slightly during the past week. Competition among the low price leaders has tightened

NEWS: In Case You Missed It