So she’s run away to have some fun. At least I hope she has. In the meantime, here’s an echo of my post today over on my personal blog. B&N is showing that old is new or new is old or some such thing.
Barnes & Noble “New” Concept a Return to Old
I’ve not made a secret of the fact I worry for the future of bookseller Barnes & Noble. For the last decade, I’ve seen signs the company is in trouble. It goes beyond the revolving door in the executive suite. It goes beyond the problems traditional publishing is having. It is a combination of a large number of factors that, ultimately, almost all rest in the board room. But at least the company hasn’t given up. That’s the best I can say. Read more
I guess it’s inevitable that Barnes & Noble seems to be dominating much of the publishing industry-related news of late. First, they fired yet another chief executive. Now the company is being run by a group of three, with Leonard Riggio looking over their shoulders. Then the company reported lower in-store sales–again. Now comes a story from Business Insider about what they think is wrong with the stores. There’s nothing unexpected there but it leaves a few things out, in my opinion.
So, what does BI say is wrong? Read more
As the ongoing saga of Barnes and Noble continues, there was a bit of a shake-up earlier this week: CEO Demos Parneros was fired on (apparently) no notice and got no severance. Read more
To support these efforts, we are focused on attracting, retaining and developing top talent throughout the organization.I hate to say it but the continuing saga of Barnes & Noble is starting to bear too many similarities to the last year or so of Borders. The upper management makes sweeping statements meant to reassure stockholders. Yet, a close look at those statements shows they contain holes big enough to drive a tank — or a fleet of them — through. New agendas are announced and new programs put into place. Yet nothing really changes. Why? Because the suits at the top simply refuse to understand the changes in the industry and admit they’ve screwed up and need a new playbook.
The first misstep is the announcement of the new “book club”. Now, book clubs in bookstores is nothing new. In fact, locally owned bookstores have had them from the beginning. I can remember times when book clubs met at our local B&N. But this one is “different”. How? First, it’s “seasonal”. (Whatever the hell that means because the first title doesn’t yell “summer” to me.) Second, every B&N across the nation will be having the same book club/reading the same book at the same time. Oh, and you’ll get free coffee and a cookie. Whoopie — not. Read more
This question came up recently in comments – why should we, on MGC, report on what The Big 5 (4?) are doing, or on B&N?
1. There’s scope and scale. What business are we in? We’re in the entertainment business. We’re competing with every other entertainer out there for Joe Sixpack’s beer money – and for Jane Doe’s attention span when she wants something to take her mind off the fact that she’s in a waiting room. Read more
I promised this the other day and got sidetracked. This is my first chance to get back to it.
By now, everyone’s read or heard about the latest round of layoffs Barnes & Noble is instituting. Following the “how to slit your own business throat in one easy lesson” plan, it is laying off head cashiers, digital leads and others in their stores who are 1) full-time employees and 2) have the experience and knowledge that helps a store run smoothly. The company says it will save them tens of millions of dollars a year. Which it might, on a protected profit and loss sheet. What those projections don’t show are the number of customers and individual transactions that will be lost because customers can’t get help when needed, can’t get their questions answered and can’t find the books they want because they haven’t been unloaded from their boxes yet. Read more
(Sarah asked me to fill-in this morning. She’ll return with her workshop next week.)
The age of the big box bookstores is waning. That’s nothing new. The proverbial writing has been on the wall for years, since before Borders shuttered its last store. Barnes & Noble continues to fight for survival and relevancy in the changing environment publishing finds itself in. Unfortunately for readers and for BN’s employees, the company’s leaders seem hell-bent on doing everything they can to short-circuit those efforts.
It’s well-known 2017’s holiday sales season wasn’t kind to B&N. Same store sales were down more than 6% and online sales were down 4.5%. This at a time when other retailers saw strong holiday sales. This was also after the retailer said in November “it would pivot to books and rely more on trusted human booksellers to bounce back from meh performance.” Apparently, that isn’t working — or at least not fast enough to satisfy the powers-that-be. So, new steps have been taken in an attempt to save the company. Read more