×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Nook Failure, Lack of Foot Traffic Could Spell Doom For Barnes & Noble

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the dead-tree-viewing-gallery dept.

Books 330

tripleevenfall sends in a story at Yahoo Finance forecasting the end of Barnes & Noble. Quoting: "The last nationwide book retailer may be writing its final chapter. Barnes & Noble's latest quarterly results show a 7.4% drop in revenues and a $122 million loss for the fourth-quarter of its fiscal year. B&N's disastrous focus on making Nook e-Readers is weighing heavily on the chain's operations. A 17% drop in Nook revenues and stunning $475 million loss for the device division in 2013 are hobbling the company's ability to keep its stores afloat. B&N appears to be cannibalizing itself with branded tablets and cross-platform e-reader applications, which render the stores increasingly irrelevant."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

330 comments

I go into the bookstore (5, Funny)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#44105417)

On my way to the Starbucks in the back

Re:I go into the bookstore (5, Informative)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 10 months ago | (#44105617)

On my way to the Starbucks in the back

It's not a Starbucks. It's the Barnes & Noble Cafe featuring Starbucks coffee.

And next time, I'm probably going to stop at the front and pick up one of those Nook HD+ 9" tablets they now have on fire sale for $150 while they still have them. It now has Google Play and all the apps available there without rooting it, and I can't see why it won't still be a decent tablet even if B&N goes completely under.

Re:I go into the bookstore (2)

faedle (114018) | about 10 months ago | (#44105691)

Actually, there are a few Barnes and Noble stores with full Starbucks locations. Tanasbourne, Oregon is one such example.

Re: I go into the bookstore (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#44105975)

Mine always has the iPhone free app and media codes. I grab a bunch for the Dunkin donuts people I know in exchange for game of thrones

And since the wheel chair ramp is through the Starbucks, I have to go to the bookstore if I have my kid with me in the stroller

Re:I go into the bookstore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105739)

heh, I still have and regularly use a first gen e-ink nook. it supports all of the basic ebook formats, including DRM free epub and the battery lasts for weeks

Re:I go into the bookstore (1)

Ambvai (1106941) | about 10 months ago | (#44105827)

I can't install third-party apps on it though. (Kindle Store, Humble Bundle games, etc.) without modding it though. Which is easy though; maybe 30 minutes from start to finish, if you don't have the files already.

Yeah, installs from alternate locations are (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44106027)

completely disabled, like an iPad. I almost returned it when I figured that out, but a crippled device for $150 is easier to swallow than a crippled device for $500 (it is possible to use the Android dev kit to install anything on it, but other market app won't be able to install anything). Plus, it is dead simple to replace the B&N mod of Android it runs with Cyanogenmod; it can (apparently) even boot off a microSD card without even a slight risk of bricking the device.

Are people reading fewer paper books? (2)

Nimey (114278) | about 10 months ago | (#44105427)

I just got done with a garage sale and almost none of my (cheaply priced!) books sold, lots fewer than when I had a garage sale about five years ago.

I'd suppose more people who actually read are transitioning to e-readers. This might also account in general for why there are fewer visitors to B&N stores.

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105521)

Didn't you get the memo?

http://i.imgur.com/az9FCjh.jpg

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105647)

Didn't you get the memo?

http://i.imgur.com/az9FCjh.jpg

Funny and not goatse.

WARNING!!! GOATSE!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44106075)

Do not look at that image. You will certainly regret it!!!! CMDR_Taco, please IP ban this clown.

Re: Are people reading fewer paper books? (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#44105561)

Yep
Last paper book I tried to read was game of thrones, six months ago
Gave up around page 80 and bought the kindle version of the five book bundle

I read on my iPad and laptop and only buy kindle versions. Amazon is like steam, lots of sales. Make a list of books and check the prices and buy for $5 when they go on sale

Re: Are people reading fewer paper books? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105891)

I've been buying used books off Amazon for next to nothing. Got a first edition Gulag Archipelago for $5. Got a excellent condition copy of The Red Atom [amazon.com] for $4.

So, keep dumping your paper books. I don't mind at all.

Re: Are people reading fewer paper books? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 10 months ago | (#44106169)

So long as your the one that has to carry the damn things. I carry all my books on a microSD, thanks.

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (5, Informative)

geek (5680) | about 10 months ago | (#44105641)

Yes people are reading paper books a LOT less. Every person I know has a Kindle or an iPad or like me and my wife, Nexus 7's. Paper books are great, don't get me wrong but when my mother in law even has an iPad for reading you know the death of paper books is on the horizon.

I was a bitter clinger to paper books. I graduated with an English degree and love literature. Too me paper books were sacred. Now I can't stand the thought of dealing with a paper book, storing it, watching it yellow on my shelf or having to fight with the binding while trying to read and holding the cover back. My Nexus 7 is the perfect experience. I can get books from multiple retailers on a single device while sitting in bed. I have Google Books, Kindle, Nook, Kobo and many others on my device and I shop around for prices.

Couple this with Calibre and I can manage my library any way I see fit, convert between formats and store them locally or in the cloud as I see fit.

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 10 months ago | (#44105717)

Why would you use an ipad for reading books? Seems like an invitation to eyestrain to me.

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105759)

People are stupid.

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 10 months ago | (#44106227)

Yeah, after a life time of carry around 3-4K volume library, and adding to it on occasion, and everytime I moved lugging box after box of them around to where every I moved to I finally gave up and found digital copies of most of the ones I had to keep, especially the references and computer manuals, which were always the largest. Now I carry my entire library in my pocket, my change pocket. I'm such a poor bastard.

Re: Are people reading fewer paper books? (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#44105805)

I change the background color to cream in the daytime and black at night
The white hurts my eyes after a while

My mom has an iPad 4 for reading and loves it. Even with her inch thick glasses. Never complains of eye strain

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (3, Funny)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | about 10 months ago | (#44106097)

They eyestrain worry is overstated.

The real problem with an iPad for books, compared to a Kindle or to a paperback novel, is that the iPad hurts a lot more when you doze off reading in bed and drop it on face.

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (2)

godrik (1287354) | about 10 months ago | (#44105707)

There are multiple effects.
First I believe people are reading less books at all.
Then all the classics that are often mandatory for school education are commonly found for free (and legally) on the internet. That certainly hurts book stores significantly.
Also the e-book effect bring less people in store. That probably decrease the amount of sales in "crap magazines" or other books that you only buy because you see it.
Amazon is killing stores by making book delivery the day after for free. It happened to me that I bought a book online at 2pm while being at the pool and got in front of my door at 10am the day after.

I'll feel nostalgic about book store, but I perfectly understand that they need to go away as they are highly inefficient compared to more modern techniques like buying book online or buying e-books.

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 10 months ago | (#44105757)

I recently moved cross country. I had a choice- I could move over a thousand books, costing me hundreds of dollars. Or I could get rid of them, keep only the ones I'm most likely to reread, and rebuy the rest electronically as I want them. I picked option 2, because its more convenient- permanent access anywhere in the world. Instead of lugging books on trips, I take a Kindle. I can slip every book I own in my pocket.

I'm worried about DRM, but the Kindle has been cracked. With that barrier gone I prefer the convenience of the ebook to the slightly better experience of a real book. The only exception is for books I need to quickly flip through- references, cook books, and tour guides. Those the refresh time of an ebook are too high and too inconvenient, I keep them in paper.

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105763)

It doesn't help that most of the store is devoted to all kinds of crap like toys, cards, god books, and astrology.
How many interpretations of the bible can a person buy?
Meanwhile the science fiction section has to share shelf space with fantasy and teen romance.
The textbook section is almost entirely business self help books and X for dummies.
I think they had 3 or 4 books on security related software development and half an aisle on developing for IOS.
I understand that iphone is hot right now, and god is great, but there are limits to how many of the same book you need in a store.

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (4, Funny)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 10 months ago | (#44106019)

It doesn't help that most of the store is devoted to all kinds of crap like toys, cards, god books, and astrology.

Some of the God books are good, such as "Where God Went Wrong," "Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes," "Who Is This God Person, Anyway?," and "Well, That Just About Wraps It Up For God."

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 10 months ago | (#44106077)

I prefer "The Bible". I hear it's a best-seller.

Re:Are people reading fewer paper books? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 10 months ago | (#44106195)

There is some good stuff in there, yes, but it can drag at times. I wonder if the author has considered doing a remake? Maybe something that could support a multi year series of summer blockbusters, like Harry Potter or Batman.

LOL Ballmer (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 10 months ago | (#44105435)

Microsoft just invested $1 billion into B&N.

How much longer are the shareholders going to let monkey boy run things? A lot longer I hope ;)

Re:LOL Ballmer (4, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#44105665)

Yeah, I was going to comment that Microsoft's keen business sense appears to be functioning pretty consistently these past several years.

Two words (3, Interesting)

benjfowler (239527) | about 10 months ago | (#44105457)

'Amazon' and 'antitrust'.

Give it time. They're so overwhelmingly dominant in online retail, that people will be calling them the Standard Oil of the 21st century, if they aren't already.

Re: Two words (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105591)

I'd argue "book publishers" charging as much for ebooks as much as printed, bound and delivered books.
My response to draconian pricing/behavior from MAFIAA was to stop buying. The same is happening with ebooks.

Re: Two words (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about 10 months ago | (#44105651)

That's interesting.

I suppose the publisher-cartel justification for this is that the physical cost of printing is extremely low compared to the overall costs of bringing a book to market.

So if this is the case, then I'm sure the publishes wouldn't mind at all, if I traded in my bulky, heavy dead-wood books for e-reader equivalents...

(But then who am I kidding??)

Re: Two words (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 10 months ago | (#44105855)

That's interesting.

I suppose the publisher-cartel justification for this is that the physical cost of printing is extremely low compared to the overall costs of bringing a book to market.

So if this is the case, then I'm sure the publishes wouldn't mind at all, if I traded in my bulky, heavy dead-wood books for e-reader equivalents...

(But then who am I kidding??)

Of course they wouldn't mind, they get to charge you twice!

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105593)

Please provide your address (or Kindle device ID) so our Marketing re-education department may visit.

Re:Two words (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#44105605)

'Amazon' and 'antitrust'.

It is not illegal to dominate a sector, nor is it even illegal to have a monopoly. It is only illegal to use your dominant position to engage in anti-competitive practices. Standard Oil was notorious for this. Microsoft also used their OS dominance to muscle in and crush competitors in office applications and browsers. I haven't see Amazon doing anything like that. Their competitors are just a click away.

Re:Two words (4, Funny)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 10 months ago | (#44105679)

'Amazon' and 'antitrust'.

It is not illegal to dominate a sector, nor is it even illegal to have a monopoly. It is only illegal to use your dominant position to engage in anti-competitive practices. Standard Oil was notorious for this. Microsoft also used their OS dominance to muscle in and crush competitors in office applications and browsers. I haven't see Amazon doing anything like that. Their competitors are just a click away.

Actually, thanks to Amazon's "one-click" patent, competitors are now forced to be no less than two clicks away or they're going to get a cease-and-desist from Amazon.

Re:Two words (0)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 10 months ago | (#44105843)

Enforcing patents (whether we consider them valid or not) isnt an antitrust issue, its a requirement for keeping your patent.

Re:Two words (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44106277)

You're mistaking the requirements for patents for that of trademarks. Trademarks must be aggressively defended to be maintained, patents can be completely undefended and remain valid (so long as the claims haven't been voided by a court and the maintenance fees have been duly paid).

Re:Two words (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 10 months ago | (#44105867)

Actually, thanks to Amazon's "one-click" patent, competitors are now forced to be no less than two clicks away or they're going to get a cease-and-desist from Amazon.

That isnt monopoly abuse, that is just patent trolling. Either way it is still bulslhit, though.

Re:Two words (4, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about 10 months ago | (#44106159)

You are talking about Standard Oil as if you are reciting a well learned poem. Standard Oil became as big as it did from 1969 to 1911 by finding ways to bring prices down for the end consumer from about 70 cents to about 5 cents in that time period. In that same time period, Rockefeller became one of the richest people in history, much wealthier then the pygmies of billionaires that exist today. The company was growing and increasing its business at a staggering pace and it was innovating to achieve that. Anything, from buying up forests to build their own barrels (and lowering new empty barrel costs by over 80%), to figuring out how to load and unload their products faster on the railroads, to finding ways to be more efficient in railroad delivery, to ensure that the train cars will not be riding empty and thus lowering costs of operating trains and getting discounts because of that, to building up more and more productive capacity.

Saying that a company was a monopoly, when in fact it was broken apart because people just could not compete with its efficiencies to the point that the prices for oil products have NEVER gone down since the moment Standard Oil was broken up.... who exactly got the profits of breaking up that efficient economy of scale but the people that wanted a piece of the pie at the EXPENSE of the consumer and got the politicians to provide it to them.

This was a disgrace then and it is a disgrace now, government is not authorised to distort the markets like that.

E-book monopoly (2, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 10 months ago | (#44105613)

Even on Slashdot, not enough people seem to be concerned about Amazon getting a monopoly on e-books.

Re:E-book monopoly (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 10 months ago | (#44105791)

Because at the moment, the DRM is easily broken and the file converted to pdf (or another format of your choice). When that changes, I'll be more worried.

Re:E-book monopoly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105809)

Their competition is thepiratebay, they can only raise prices and make the user experience so obnoxious before they drive their customers permanently into piracy

maybe the monopoly bones authors but im not sure how much more they are boned than they were under the previous "advance" or "beg and then give up your left arm/testicle/first born child to be published" system

Re:E-book monopoly (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 10 months ago | (#44105961)

maybe the monopoly bones authors but im not sure how much more they are boned than they were under the previous "advance" or "beg and then give up your left arm/testicle/first born child to be published" system

Through a caring, loving, nurturing, trade publisher, the author typically gets 85% of 25% of 70% of the e-book cover price, or about 15% royalties once everyone else has sucked out their cut. Through the EVIL AMAZON MONOPOLY, they generally get at least 35%, or 70% if the book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99.

Re:E-book monopoly (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 10 months ago | (#44105851)

Even on Slashdot, not enough people seem to be concerned about Amazon getting a monopoly on e-books.

Probably because Amazon don't have one. They own far less of the e-book market now than they did a couple of years ago, and B&N's share has been falling in that time.

I sell e-books through various stores, and Apple and Kobo account for about as many sales as Amazon. B&N sells pretty much none.

Re:E-book monopoly (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 10 months ago | (#44106253)

Probably because Amazon don't have one. They own far less of the e-book market now than they did a couple of years ago, and B&N's share has been falling in that time.

I sell e-books through various stores, and Apple and Kobo account for about as many sales as Amazon. B&N sells pretty much none.

The DoJ disagrees with you. In fact, they just wrapped up the case where Apple was the ringleader of a cartel with the publishers in order to raise e-book prices.

Of course, had Apple not done this whole monopoly thing, Amazon might still have their 80%+ marketshare. But hey, cheap ebooks!

Re:E-book monopoly (1)

tukang (1209392) | about 10 months ago | (#44105931)

Maybe people aren't concerned about Amazon getting a monopoly on ebooks because Apple and Google are viable competitors.

this makes me sad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105459)

This is my favorite retail store. I own nook devices, I buy paperbacks and magazines in stores, my children beg me to take them to the bookstore (meaning Barnes and Noble, there are really no others nearby), and I'm even planning to release a novel through their nook publishing division.

All the recent stories of them going under make me very very sad.

At least they tried (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105495)

The summary seems to attack B&N for trying to adapt to changing times rather than sticking their head in the sand. Even if it was ultimately futile, I don't think it was boneheaded.

I love the Nook (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 10 months ago | (#44105499)

It's a very simple, small device that does one job and does it well. I'm surprised to hear that their hardware division is struggling, although in fairness I had to buy mine from ebay since they didn't sell them outside the US. I must buy another to use for spare parts. I've actually started to get rid of all my books at this point.

Re:I love the Nook (3, Informative)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 10 months ago | (#44105999)

That's the problem, I think. B&N stupidly is restricting itself to the US, when there's millions (heck, billions) of people outside of that one bloody country. Instead of buying a Nook, I got a Kobo Glo, and that's one sale lost for B&N. Amazon sells the Kindle in more countries and it's always selling like hotcakes, but they're very slow at it. There's a huge market outside of the US, but many American companies seem not to understand that.

Remember when... (2)

ggraham412 (1492023) | about 10 months ago | (#44105503)

Remember when the folks at B&N were hailed as visionary geniuses compared to the doofuses at Borders because B&N had an eReader?

Re:Remember when... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105887)

Remember when the folks at B&N were hailed as visionary geniuses compared to the doofuses at Borders because B&N had an eReader?

No.

If Barnes and Noble want to stay in business, they need to stop selling their books at list price. They don't need to have Amazon's discounts, but how about 20% across the board?

When I can buy a $49 O'Reilly book on Amazon for $22, there's little incentive to buy from B&N. On the other hand, a 20% discount would be enough to buy in the store - that way I get instantly and in good condition. Anyone else notice that Amazon has cheapened their shipping packaging? No more strink wrapping the book with a cardboard sheet to keep the book from bouncing around the box. And many times, the books are just thrown in a bubble envelope and come with their asses kicked.

Re:Remember when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105953)

Remember when the folks at B&N were hailed as visionary geniuses compared to the doofuses at Borders because B&N had an eReader?

Yuh huh, and, praytell, which one died first by several years?

i picked the losing side, at least i dont lose (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105539)

I figured B&N for the least evil and bought lots of books over the past years after my nook, and nook color. For the decade or so prior to that I had purchased 0 dead tree books because I was tired of packing my books when moving. I am sad that they seem to be losing the war. At least I can convert all my epubs to DRM free epubs. Thank god for that.

There can be only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105551)

Just a matter of time before we have only one choice. And B&N won't be it. Which is a shame.

they can save the nook (4, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | about 10 months ago | (#44105625)

turn it into a pr0n focused device and rebrand it as "the nookie"

Re:they can save the nook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105995)

lmao

I thought it was a toy store (4, Insightful)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about 10 months ago | (#44105633)

The last time I walked into one of their stores it seemed more like a toy store. Most of it was toys, puzzles, and games. It wasn't what I was expecting at all.

Re:I thought it was a toy store (1)

david.emery (127135) | about 10 months ago | (#44105747)

Agree. Their music section just duplicated what I could get at WalMart or Target for a lot less; I'm not interested in pop music. Classical content was laughable. Although some of the toys were fun, we don't have children to buy for any more. So that was just more space taken away from their primary mission of selling books. Borders offered a wider selection of books (in its prime). When we had both stores available to us, I'd go to the local B&N for browsing, and Borders (further away) when trying to find something obscure.

Amazon scratches the 'obscure' itch much better than Borders, but doesn't offer the same browsing experience.

Re:I thought it was a toy store (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105765)

The staggering transformation of the stores has destroyed whatever actual book inventory they might have held. The insane hawking of readers the second one crosses the threshold is off-putting the first time, let alone anytime thereafter. And while I am all for a children's section, the majority of the space is now laid out for suburban moms to drop their kids and ignore them. Not a good experience for any of the rest of us.

In short, they forgot how to be a bookstore. If there was any chance of saving themselves from disintermediation between better online markets, and digital delivery, they squandered it on a lifestyle marketing pipe dream that alienated whatever few folks may have remembered them fondly as a third place with a good selection of interesting reading material.

Re:I thought it was a toy store (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 10 months ago | (#44105901)

Late last year I saw a few complaints online along the lines of 'I went to B&N before Christmas to buy books as presents, but they don't seem to sell them any more.'

Abandoning your core market in the hope of picking up a new one is rarely a good business plan.

Re:I thought it was a toy store (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44106123)

If they hadn't tried, everyone would be on here claiming they are a "dinosaur" that failed to adapt.

Re:I thought it was a toy store (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 10 months ago | (#44105959)

Indeed. As a tech / geek / nerd / whatever (whenever the labels apply), anime / manga love is something of a given. And yet my local B&N decided that rearranging the bookshelves (shrinking the sections) to make space for the giant plastic toys for kids was somehow a better idea; I had the good fortune to speak with some of the staff that work there, and they say that the manga they stock sells like hot-cakes (bit of a money-maker) and doesn't take up any real space for the return on investment. I visit them yesterday to start a new series, find out they have books 2 & 3 (many copies of them, at that), but not book 1. Now how am I supposed to begin what may be a 20 or 40 book experience if you don't have the first book in the series? Just start with book two? How would the LOTR fans feel if you told them that sorry, book one was not available at that location, but book two and three were in stock?

But this doesn't even touch the computing / programming stuff that is continually in flux...it was nice when B&N had some of the more exotic / relevant stuff in stock, so I could stop by and pick it up immediately. This is usually because when a project needed something, it NEEDED something. Now, I grant you, eBooks have destroyed that need to great degree, but it has been largely helped by B&N's approach to stocking whatever they thought was popular, as opposed to what was popular + needed at 3 AM. Popular sells after the person is in the store, needed gets the person to the store.

Finally, B&N doesn't use nearly all the space they could use. They could easily fit double-sized book cases inside those stores, but opt for the single-sized ones instead.

Re:I thought it was a toy store (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 10 months ago | (#44105997)

How would the LOTR fans feel if you told them that sorry, book one was not available at that location, but book two and three were in stock?

To be fair, that may not be B&N's fault. If you read author blogs on the web, you'll find a number saying 'my book series died because by the time I finished book 4 the publisher had let book 1 go out of print and wouldn't reprint it, so sales were dismal. Who's going to start reading a series where the first book is unavailable?'

Publishing and book selling seems to be a completely brain-dead industry.

Re:I thought it was a toy store (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105897)

Their stores have widely varying content depending on where they are. In a University town near me (New Haven), the store is almost entirely text books. In the neighboring town (Stamford -which is a satellite of NY and hence lot of commuters) the shelves are full of business books. They have a separate area dedicated to kids (I guess for the Suburban parents to let their kids run around). Near airports they have a lot of paperbacks.

Maybe in your city there are a lot of ebook readers?

eReader != Tablet, and availability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105663)

I've never bought an eReader because I wanted a tablet that could do more. I use my Nexus 7 instead and purchase books from both Amazon and Google Play. Guess which online retailer doesn't offer their free Android app in my country (Rhymes with Book). I'm in fucking Canada for Chrissakes.

Online vs. In-Store price (4, Informative)

Ben C. (2950903) | about 10 months ago | (#44105673)

Why would I go into Barnes & Noble when they charge more for items in-store than they do on their website?

A single tear was shed... (1)

mekkab (133181) | about 10 months ago | (#44105685)

...from every mom and pop bookshop (well, at least the ones still in business).

Barnes & Noble closed the profitable store her (4, Interesting)

david.emery (127135) | about 10 months ago | (#44105709)

(Reston VA), In part due to contract dispute with the mall owner. But they could have moved into a nice Borders store location about 5 miles away in Sterling VA. Instead, they pointed me to their store in Tyson's Corner, which costs me $5 in tolls and puts me in the middle of a traffic mess. I felt sorry for the Reston store employees and the managers who did a good job with our local store, handing one my B&N Readers Card. I said, "Send this to Corporate. Tell them to look up how much I've spent -in this store- over the last 15 years. Tell them that 95% of that business is going to Amazon, because I will not drive to Tysons and B&N offers me no alternative."

I really miss browsing in a paper bookstore, Amazon does not offer the same experience (their suggestions aren't as useful for me as they think they are...) The loss of B&N will be significant for consumers, I think. But I'm mostly through the 5 stages of mourning for them.

Re:Barnes & Noble closed the profitable store (2)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | about 10 months ago | (#44105987)

Ditto. I find it particularly galling that Manassas still has a B&N but that the Reston area, with higher incomes & education, has none.

Re:Barnes & Noble closed the profitable store (1)

jandrese (485) | about 10 months ago | (#44106181)

Yeah, closing the Reston store--for a goddamn Container Store, who asked for the Container Store?!?--was dumb.

Book publishers shot themselves (1)

fermion (181285) | about 10 months ago | (#44105733)

Here is the problem. Publishers jumped in with Amazon on their DRM. This meant is did not matter who made the better eBook reader, who gave the publishers a better deal, most of us were not going to have a bunch of incompatible books. So Anazon has their book reader, and software to allow us to read it on many different devices. Is there a nook app for Kindle? I don't know. But there is a Kindle app for everything else. So Amazon controls the market. And most of the time has the best price. I don't buy so many books though because it is DRM and used books are cheap. I used to buy new books, but I like reading on my kindle, and I don't have to buy books to read later, I can but them as I want them, and knowing they could go away makes me want them les.

OTOH, because music is DRM free, I can buy it from anyone and play it anywhere, and back it up nicely. So I buy music. Movies are still heavily DRMed like books, and can't just be played, so I tend to buy few of those. DVDs with regions and such killed the movie, really.

The point being that publishers gave the industry away to Amazon who uses books the way a supermarket uses milk. To drive traffic, not to make a profit. So books are becoming less valuable and, because of DRM, someone like B&N who has an interest in keeping books valuable has no leverage to do so. Yes, lack of DRM would have meant lower sales, but at least there would have still been an industry.

It's not JUST the Nook (5, Interesting)

sehlat (180760) | about 10 months ago | (#44105797)

B&N has been somewhat schizophrenic about eBooks from the beginning, trying desperately to keep up with Amazon on one hand and yet not cannibalize their precious treeware stores. As a result, they've managed to fail at both goals.

Worse yet, they managed to buy, and then ignore, everything Fictionwise could have taught them about marketing eBooks and doing it right. I was a loyal (and VERY happy) Fictionwise customer for a decade. FW did three things that were absolutely priceless in marketing eBooks to me.

1. FW let you request email notifications when a new book by a particular author you were interested in was available. Naturally, as soon as I got such a notification...

B&N is still doing the old "These are the books WE want to sell you." routine with "push" emails and "new now" notices for books I couldn't care less about.

2. FW (and Books on Board) had a shopping cart for eBooks. Fictionwise had both "buy all of these at once" and "download them all in a ZIP file." My record buy was something like 25 books in one day when one of my favorite authors had all of his stuff released (finally) to eBook format. Fewer obstacles to purchase == more purchases. You'd think an experienced retailer would figure that out.

B&N: "Click once for each book" crud that both Amazon and B&N impose on readers. The day Paulo Coelho's books were put on sale at $1/each, I had to click "buy" and "confirm" eleven times, and when it came time to balance my credit card account... (cue loud curses)

3. If you went to an author's page at FW (e.g. Poul Anderson), you got a "show me only books by this author I don't own" and "buy everything that's showing" buttons. See my note about "fewer obstacles" above.

B&N: MISSING IN ACTION

4. FW frequently offered the ability to buy eBooks at listed price and get an equal amount in store credit. Result: I frequently took advantage of the offer, got best-sellers at full list, and then used the credits to buy more eBooks. From my standpoint, I got the best-sellers for free, and then used the credits to "buy out" other authors I wanted everything they did.

B&N: MISSING IN ACTION

It is a shame that B&N bought the major ebook retailer who knew how to do it right and then ignored everything they had done in order to cripple their eBook store as a doomed effort to force people to walk into their bricks-and-mortar.

Think of it as evolution in action.

Re:It's not JUST the Nook (1)

game kid (805301) | about 10 months ago | (#44105945)

I was a loyal (and VERY happy) Fictionwise customer for a decade. FW did three things that were absolutely priceless in marketing eBooks to me.

...and that's why B&N decided to "fix" that.

rise of the digital public library (2)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 10 months ago | (#44105831)

Bookstores are dead, and I include in that Amazon's book business. I used to shop regularly at Walden's, B. Dalton's, and all them, pop in once every 2 or 3 weeks. Now I hardly ever visit. These days, I'd rather participate in a discussion such as these on Slashdot, than passively read a book.

When I do want to read a book, I much prefer to get it through a public library, rather than participate any further in this overly commercialized private bookstore and publishing business. Our public libraries should go digital, and I see the private bookstore as one of the obstacles to that. The digital public library would save us a great deal of money and give us far, far more access to published works than we now enjoy, but these scumbags in the private book sales industry have done all they could to delay and derail it. That being the case, the death of the private bookstore is reason to celebrate.

Nook Failure = Limited tablet market (3, Interesting)

AnalogDiehard (199128) | about 10 months ago | (#44105847)

It's not so much that reading habits are shifting from paper to digital as it is the limited tablet computer market. Apple iPad has a strong foothold in the tablet market. Few people want another tablet to carry around not to mention one that is focused on eReading and not much else.

bad assumptions, good intentions (2)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44105859)

There seems to be a preoccupation in the article description with the idea of having a national bookseller. I'm not sure we actually need one. Personally, I get pretty much all my books either online or from local used bookstores. Even online, I lean towards the used market unless the new copies are (after shipping on the used, since new is usually free shipping) about the same price or less.

There's a kind of irony to the fact that the book superstores are all losing the fight while the local used shops are pretty much always hubs of activity at the times I visit them. Have publishers retail-priced themselves out of the brick and mortar world, creating a culture where the new-book-buyers go online where volume makes discounting possible, and the used buyers comfortably go either way? It certainly seems that way.

Nook or no Nook, Barnes & Noble would have been fools to ignore the eBook concept. However, I think they may be making a mistake to pursue the devices any further. It's time to go the razor route. Give the handles away, make your money on the blades. The great thing is, once you've created the "handle", the cost of delivering it to tablets, phones, and computers you didn't have to market or sell is negligible.

Another MS 'partner' goes down the tubes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105865)

Nokia, B&N, ....
People aren't stupid. They know that when MS gets involved in a company it is time to leave.

If somebody is going to cannibalize you (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 10 months ago | (#44105869)

let it be yourself. -- Steve Jobs.

B&N apparently assumed that Profit! would automatically appear. Jobs didn't.

Re:If somebody is going to cannibalize you (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 10 months ago | (#44106225)

He stole that from David Packard of HP. Back in the LaserJet/InkJet days, his motto was to "put ourselves out of business every 6 months". And back then, they usually succeeded.

simple touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105877)

I will miss them, as they are great devices.. Guess i better stock up when the fire sale happens.

( but no, not the glo worm edition )

They will have to change or will be restructured (1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | about 10 months ago | (#44105895)

I have seen this and dealt with this on a smaller scale though, but they will have to change their business or they will be restructured and their assets will be auctioned off and somebody with a different, more economically viable plan will come in and reuse the bought assets in a different way.

Basically this is the market telling them to change, are they listening? Do they even understand and know how to listen and what to pay attention to and what to discard as irrelevant? What I know is that it is hard to change the minds of the people that are set in their ways and can ride their business right into bankruptcy because they won't change and they are not even interested in understanding what and how to change.

Bad selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44105919)

The brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble stores don't have a reasonable selection anymore. For example, my local store does not stock any copies of Kernighan & Ritchie in its C Programming section, the Science Fiction section doesn't have any books by Harry Harrison, and the music section doesn't have any CD's by Ray Charles.

I often go the brick-and-mortar store feeling certain that they'll have these well-known classics, but instead I only find trashy recent titles like "Head First Design Patterns".

It takes several days to receive an order from Amazon, and I would prefer the convenience and instant gratification of a brick-and-mortar store, but it isn't really an option if it doesn't stock anything of value.

E-media is not to blame (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | about 10 months ago | (#44105941)

More than 2/3rds of Americans are obese. Only in compact urban settings do people actually walk (e.g. San Francisco, New York.) Americans also use to read, but no longer. Hell, in the U.S. it is possible to attain a literary-based PhD without having fucking read literature.

Consider all these factors, books won't make money. I went to the NYPL, one of the greatest books among their library had only been checked out twice in two years.

No reads anymore. /. is no different. /. loves to revere minor writers like Rand, Orwell, whatever. It says a lot...

I want a universal e-reader not a brand e-reader (1)

sjwest (948274) | about 10 months ago | (#44105989)

My last book i bought came from a charity shop as nobody sold it in my region in europe not even the independent book shops. The amazon version on e-reader would have cost me $100 dollars with device, it was cheaper to import the book from a foriegn location. Also as i like to use my lending library that all those elected people love closing down and so i am not buying into e-books. I do have some pdfs with my name and address in as well compliments of the publisher and are horrid to navigate.

I read a lot. On buying a ereader i am not buying a ereader thing that only works in one shop. As i use linux daily another issue is that drm or reading clients [adobe] are missing but not a problem in apple and windows land.

An e-reader sounds a great idea until i start shooting holes into the arguments. When i can load books via linux into an ereader, use my library with it and purchase books with it then consider me a customer.

Response to Barnes & Noble poor performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44106007)

Bottom-line people are broke books are expensive. Reduce the price significantly could improve sales. Nooks, a smaller contributing factors, will be bought less & less cuz people are broke.

Staying out of both... (1)

irving47 (73147) | about 10 months ago | (#44106021)

I won't shop in a Barnes & Noble or a Booksamillion anymore because of the constant upselling at the register. If I say no thanks, and I'm not interested even ONCE, I don't need to hear the 60 second speech they have memorized.

I save my foot traffic for the small independents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44106041)

I remember when there were dozens of small independent booksellers in my area, and I remember how the big-box bookstores, B&N and Borders, drove most of them out of business. There are still two left; one a short drive and one in walking distance. My foot traffic always goes first to those stores. If they're out I might try a big box store, but I have no particular loyalty to the big boxes and no reason to prefer them to Amazon.

They keep moving or re-moving books. (1)

Krojack (575051) | about 10 months ago | (#44106125)

I went into the B&N here a few months back. Walked right back to where the computer section has been for years only to find it gone. I looked all over and ended up having to ask some employee. Once found, they didn't even have any HTML5 programming books. The whole computer section was 1/3 the size it use to be. I left thinking, "This place sucks now."

Their Book Selection (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | about 10 months ago | (#44106173)

From my personal account, they don't carry literature. Very few classics do they actually carry. I am talking about simply finding Henry Miller's "Black Spring" or Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio." Most ain't got 'em.

The best book store I found was in Portland. It was run by an elderly couple below their home. They had hardback covers, decades old, from authors you would only dream to find. They had copies not even the New York Public Library obtains. I found first editions of Hudson's "Green Mansions", John Cowper Powys's "Autobiography", and several other small finds.

Compare that to an Anderson book in San Francisco; they wanted $2000 for it.

One good reason the store will fail is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44106189)

If I go to bn.com and look up a book I can generally purchase it for 40% or more off the list price of the book. If I go to the store I pay full price. If I order from bn.com I have the book in 1-2 days generally (luckily I'm close to a distribution center). I can't think of a book I need badly enough to purchase it in the store. Sorry B&N, that is a broken model and a recipe for disaster.

Device Explosion doomed printed text & images (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 10 months ago | (#44106281)

Just a matter of time before brick and mortar stores get recycled into anti-skid brick sidewalks in upscale malls.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...