Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Buh-bye, B & N

The impending Death of Barnes and Noble/WSJ:

""""The simple explanation for Barnes & Noble's decline is the Internet, which spawned Amazon.com, e-readers and digital books. But that didn't have to be the end for B&N, which had a dominant market position and should have out-Amazoned Amazon, leveraging its brand and innovating when it began marketing and selling books online.

I know exactly when B&N lost me as a customer. Some years ago, to compete with Amazon, B&N began offering free same-day delivery in Manhattan if you placed your order over the Internet by 11 a.m. I did so several times—and not once did the books arrive when promised. Everything I have ordered from Amazon has arrived on time or earlier. Then came Amazon's game-changing Kindle, and instant delivery. Nothing I've read about B&N's belated rival Nook has tempted me to try it.

My hunch is that B&N never really embraced the Internet or e-books, tied as it was to the old-fashioned world of physical books and stores. As B&N focused on managing decline, a much more nimble Amazon could concentrate exclusively on the new world it was forming. B&N needed to destroy its business model to prevail. Now it is probably too late. There is a lesson for all businesses here.""""

The WSJ dweeb's only partially correct. B & N's near-death was not due only to the Net, Amazon/Kindle, or Stevie McJobs' i-Pad. B & N for one bought massive warehouses in scenic suburbs of America and filled them to brimming with books and all sorts of other media. At times, they sold books like hotcakes (usually weekends when soccer mommies go out to schmoooze and sip lattes, etc).

The rise of Amazon and the availability of cheap online texts (and the Net's archives) put a big dent in B & N's sales. Given B & N's mega book-warehouses and big staffs, they can't afford the rent with only a slight reduction in sales (and also factor in increasing lease costs).

B & N was a poorly managed enterprise from the start--and thanks to piss-poor management, B & N employees (former employees) now will pay the price by losing their meager McJobs. Consumers who enjoyed the relatively low prices and the convenience of the book warehouses also will suffer. Soon another giant empty storefront with smashed in windows and gangsta tags will appear in a city or town near you. Maybe turn 'em into roller derby camps for the unemployed.


Perezoso said...

--There's an element of risk to any business, J. Nothing's certain. Besides, bookstores--and books-- are probably a thing of the past. As the WSJ writer noted, not many people would go to Barnes and Noble to buy a book for $20 when they can get it online from Amazon for $10.

--Your evil mormon nemesis B-ronius appears to have gone vegetarian. Wow. Vegans may be some of the most ridiculous humans on the planet. Maybe they can convince their dogs to eat soy product instead of meat.

I'm a member of P.E.T.A. by the way: People Eating Tasty Animals.

J said...

Bookstores may be struggling but hard copies of books are not a thing of the past, Pz. At times online material will suffice, but most ordinary people value old books, classics, non-fiction, science/reference texts and so forth. Many books are heirlooms of a sort as well--whether that's a treasured Shakespeare, or history of the Civil war, an aged On the Road, or well-thumbed calculus text. Or..say a King James Bible for the biblethumpers. (or like a classic such as the Pearl of Great Price for the LDS brrethhrren. Holy newts of fire, hermano).

A bookstore offers more convenience than does Amazon for many as well. They have magazines and newspapers. You can buy a Tall of yucatan-campesino highland blend, and a Miles Davis CD as well, meet the interesting divorcees, etc.

B-ronius, aka Bubbamy is hardly an eco-crat, Pz--more like Jerry Falwell on steroids and crack (or maybe it's Mitt Romneyoid). He may put on a green and/or vegan schtick once in a while to impress some pseudo-liberal morons. He like drives a Ford pick up truck. supported Schwarzenegger. Cutting down on pork or booze--w.t.f cares. I'm against cattle and pork industry as it were, but ...the meat's like already dead. Paraphrasing Chris Rock f**k that "don't eat the red meat" BS. It's the green meat you don't want to eat.

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