• John Smith

    BKS is a gone-goose. Declining sales in a dying market with little hope for salvation is not an environment that inspires a comeback.

    What they *do* have going for them are two things: Real-estate and a ready-made distribution system through all of those brick & mortar stores. THAT makes them a prime candidate for a (cheap) acquisition … Rakuten, for example. If things continue, though, they’ll be forced to close the latter and sell the former so whatever deal they plan to make, they’d better make it soon.

    As for buying a Nook in the face of all this? Uh, no.

  • Dan Thompson

    While Mr. Smith’s comments below raise some excellent points regarding the problems B&N has had with its Nook device, those difficulties, and the slowdown of physical book sales, do not necessarily mean the end of either the company or of bookstores. Furthermore, he neglects to evaluate the factors that bring customers out of their houses and into any physical shopping experience.

    True, the Nook tablet computer is basically a crippled device that is competing with full-featured tablets from Samsung, Microsoft, and Apple, just to name three hardware manufacturers. People who are in the income bracket to purchase ebooks are more likely to, like me, just buy a tablet, load both Nook and Kindle software, and read whatever books they please. Dumping the hardware sales gets B&N out of a market fight they cannot win in the long run.

    On the other hand, I was encouraged by the plans I heard for B&N to open real restaurants inside their stores, hopefully serving real food with real service and atmosphere. Presumably they would gain floor space by getting rid of the toys and tchotchkes that seem to be little more than a cheap distraction from their core business, which is to attract and keep people who love books, reading, and leisurely conversation about such matters. The in-store Starbucks experience seems to be a success, largely because it provides a reason to comfortably spend more time in the store and perhaps buy books.

    Many times I’ve seen an interesting book in the stacks at B&N, then purchased that ebook though Nook while sitting in the coffee shop, downloaded while sipping coffee. If there was a decent restaurant there, perhaps even with some associated meeting areas, my book club may even meet there, have supper, and discuss, over a leisurely dessert, the books we obtained from B&N.

    In sum, people now go to stores for the experience, not just to acquire goods. That’s why restaurants and movie theatres are holding their own in the face of online vendors. B&N could learn from that model and grow their business in a direction that Amazon can’t follow.

  • Martha Smith

    The nook was originally my #1 preferred platform. I persuaded others to buy it. I often took it to BN to read because of the nook’s cafe coupons and the free in-store reading option. Due to decisions made by BN through the years, I now won’t even accept free e-books for the nook. It’s really a shame.

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