Barnes and Noble operates over 600 bookstores in the United States and the bookseller isn’t doing enough to protect their shoppers. Every single week there are stories about women being groped or touched in a sexual manner. Suspects are often caught on camera, but rarely is an arrest being made. Barnes and Noble simply doesn’t care about the safety of their shoppers.
- A few weeks ago a bearded man who was seen on surveillance video “deliberately” touching several women at a Barnes & Noble is being sought by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. He was actually arrested after one of the many women he gropped followed him and called the police.
- Police are searching for a man accused of groping a six year old inside the B&N bookstore at Union Square.
- In late March a young man opened fire with a pellet gun in a Cary bookstore. He has been charged with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, three counts of malicious assault in secret, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, discharging a barreled weapon into an occupied business and possession of a weapon of mass destruction.
- In late April a Columbus man was secretly photographing a woman in the women’s restroom at the Columbus Park Crossing Barnes & Noble.
- A 51 year old man was seen pushing and punching an 11-year-old girl in the face that brought her down to the ground, as seen in a Twitter video posted by a netizen (@dawszn) last Jan. 12. The incident happened right in front of a Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Asheville Mall on the same day, Saturday. Apart from punching the 11-year-old, he also shoved two 13-year-old girls, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times on Jan 15.
Almost all of these problems occured in the past few months inside Barnes and Noble bookstores and right in front of them. Obviously for any problem that actually makes the news, there are likely dozens that go unreported. This could be due to the customer feeling ashamed that they let it happen, outright denial or it isn’t worth reporting, it is easier to just leave and not come back. Retail shoppers make up the vast majority of sales, and if B&N is not protecting them, this leads to a crisis of confidence.
One of the big problems are the staff themselves. Most of the full time staff was let go last year and either hired on a part time basis or completely fired and new staff were hired. Managers are being stretched thin, trying to hit membership quotas. The average staff member are more concerned about people stealing books, rather than providing a safe space for their customers.
Why visit the bookstore if people can do all sorts of inappropriate things to you and there isn’t any security. Sure there are CCTV cameras in most of the stores, but the children’s section has none at all.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.