RG2E Peeps: Will Barnes and Noble Stores Have the Same Ending as Borders? How Will that Affect You?

I don’t know about you, RG2E Peeps, but I don’t have a good gut feeling about the future of Barnes and Noble brick and mortar stores. They could end up with the same fate as Borders…bankrupt and all stores closed.


Following an article in the Wall Street Journal (which is subscription only…ugh!) early last week, things ain’t lookin’ too good.

Digital Book World (DBW) is doing a great job covering it and analyzing it. So, here are the links you might want to check out:

The Barnes & Noble Elephant in the Room at DBW 2013

Barnes & Noble Worries Spread

Barnes & Noble’s Massive Tablet Failure

Barnes & Noble Overly Optimistic About Its Dark Future?

And, it’s not just their brick and mortar stores that are in trouble. Their Nook division, even with Microsoft’s money, isn’t doing great either. Sales of their new Nook tablet didn’t meet expectations during the holiday season.

So, what does all of this mean for you as Readers/Ereaders?

What is perhaps going to change is how y’all find new authors and book/Ebooks. In other words, how will you find/discover books and authors in the very near future, with and/or without any major brick and mortar chain stores like Barnes and Noble?

I just don’t think brick and mortar stores are in our future at all. Even with highly-illustrated books as in the travel and childrens’ genres, because of tablets (like the Kindle Fire and iPad), there’s simply no need for glossy paper.

My gut tells me that, in the very near future, we’ll find books and authors in two places – on Ereaders/Tablets and in The Library. (Yep, I’m betting if you want the paper/print book experience, you’ll go to your local public library for that.)

What do y’all think?

Note: I’ll do my part to continue to help Barnes & Noble, as I do sooo appreciate and love all of you Nook Readers! So, one lucky commenter today will win a $10 Nook Gift Card.

The Best of RG2E Reading Wishes — D. D. Scott, RG2E Founder



11 thoughts on “RG2E Peeps: Will Barnes and Noble Stores Have the Same Ending as Borders? How Will that Affect You?

  1. I sure hope B&N sticks around! They do need to work on their online store though. It’s gotten better, but it’s still not as slick as Amazon’s. The Nook readers are very nice too.

  2. I pray you’re wrong for many reasons, D.D. I love hanging out in BN. Although admittedly I don’t buy nearly as many books there as I used to. Zon has made it way too easy to get free books for my kindle and I tend toward going to the library for my hard copies rather than paying the outrageous fees that book stores charge for paper books. I keep waiting for BN stores to offer those nifty POD stations that independent book stores are using where you can get a copy of a book not already on the shelf made up right there. I think they are going to have to find some innovative way to compete, or they will eventually go belly up. It will be a sad day for sure if that happens.

  3. I’m hoping B&N sticks around, but I’m thinking too that it will be hard to find the print books in the future. I enjoy going to a bookstore and browsing which is something that I miss doing now that I don’t have one close by. I go to my public library a lot, but they are small and don’t get that many new authors in. I do a lot of inter library loans through my local library which sometimes work.

  4. Unfortunately, I don’t hold much hope for the future of Barnes and Noble stores. I used to spend hours there (and at Borders), browsing books, often walking out with a shopping bag full of new purchases. Recently? Not so much.

    There are two reasons for that. One is they seem to have forgotten their core business. Too many tchochkes and not enough books. Not enough staff engaging the customers about books. The other is price. Not only are they in competition with Amazon, they’re in competition with their own online business. Several times I looked up a book online, then made a trip to the store to check it out in person, fully intending to buy a copy. But, when I got to the store, the price was significantly higher. Since I had a B&N membership and shipping was free, I went back home and ordered the book online.

    As Dana said, they also have to work on their online presence. Their search in particular needs improvement. The reader application for the Mac has been broken for over a year and they show no inclination to fix it.

    While I love my nook, I’ve already made a decision that, when it goes belly-up (as all things do eventually), I’ll replace it with an Android tablet or iPad mini. I will break DRM in order to move my extensive library to the new device if necessary.

    There will always be a market for paper books. All my reference books are paper. High-quality books for collectors. But as far as fiction, newspapers, and magazines? All digital.

  5. Six months ago, I went exclusively with Amazon with KDP Select for all eight of my ebooks. I am very happy with the results. What I made before from B&N was peanuts. Less than one percent of what I made on Amazon. And the other places where Smashwords distributes were even less significant.

    I too feel that bookstores will go the way of the Ice Man and the Milkman. D.D.’s right; soon either you buy online, or you go to the library.

    Put books aside for a second – I buy almost everything from Amazon. Electronics, house gadgets, microwaves, paper clips, shoes, clothing, rubber bands, Gorilla glue. Health bars, protein powder — you name it, and I get it on Amazon. With Amazon Prime (79 bucks a year), I get 2 days free delivery too (and so do my two married children). And no tax in the state of Florida. Staples and Office Max have become absolete to me.

    Why would I get in my car and drive to a bookstore to buy a book?

    Waste gas. Waste my time too. Wear and tear on my car. Wear and tear on me too. Makes no sense. And I can research the book better online than I can in the store.

    A couple of clicks on my computer, and like magic, the items (books.. etc…) mysteriously appear by my front door in two flippin’ days!

    It just common sense. Bookstore will die a slow death; they have no choice. And we have no choice but to accept that eventuality.

    As writers, we can mourn their demise (waste of time), or make preparations to thrive in the markets that still will exist.

    Count me as doing the latter.

  6. The demise of B&N would be a real shame imho. Healthy competition is good for everybody and keeps businesses on their toes. Unlike Joe, I have the opposite story, my sales outside Kindle are almost 300% more across distributors and that includes B&N and (gasp) Sony. Pearson invested heavily in B&N’s Ebook business at the end of last year, apparently they have ‘a plan’. Many believe that’s because they’re interested in their educational arm. Whatever will be will be. In the UK the Nook reader is doing well, the reading experience on the device is fantastic.

    I hope their Ebook arm survives or does something clever like join forces with Google. The ‘Zon needs another big hitter in the playground, which would be good for the reader and good for authors too.

  7. I started out with a nook as a matter of fact got a new one for Christmas from my parents! My dad loves B&N:) My husband and Son gave me a Kindle Fire for Christmas too me it just seems like Amazon has it together more so than B&N does as a reader, they do more promotions, more authors use them! But that being said I love my nook as well…I love going into the book store and getting my favorite books in print, my husband jokes that I need a fireproof safe for books, my nook and kindle:)So I do hope B&N makes it, I would be disappointed if they didn’t!

  8. I love to go to Barnes & Noble and cruise the bookracks and look around and just “feel the book atmosphere.” But when it comes to buying books, I am all about my Kindle. It is just too convenient. I chose that over the Nook because of the availability of the independent authors I love. So I feel that if B&N goes under, I play a huge part in that.

    I feel the future of their store is not what it is now, but would they be smart in going in with another venue. Being part of a department store–Target or Macy’s, and having a small section in a place like that? Or maybe that would not even work. But as for them being a stand-alone–I don’t think they will be around for long. And as an ownder of a Nook and Kindles, there is no comparison–I have not picked up my Nook in ages. It layes dead and dusty in a corner, with books still to be read.

    I suppose it will be like my Twinkies–I won’t know how much I truly loved B&N until it is gone.

  9. I would hate to see B&N disappear, any bookstore for that matter.
    I love the feel of a book, the smell of the paper, the act of turning the page.
    I enjoy going to book signing events, it is so much fun the meet the author behind the words.
    I have some authors that are must buys for me, and I seek out those books.
    That being said, I must admit I LOVE my Kindle. It is so easy to one click and start reading.
    I think Amazon has it all together and has pushed the indie author to the forefront.
    I have been introduced to so many new authors and their works, I feel very lucky to have such opportunity.


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