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Barnes and Noble For Sale

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fljustice
Bibliophile
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Postby fljustice » Fri August 6th, 2010, 4:43 pm

"Ash" wrote:If they start going down, maybe the used book businesses in the area will start coming back.


I heard a local news show on our NPR (National Public Radio) station discussing this. It sounds like it's a power struggle at the top. They also said that big stores are floundering in New York, but small local bookshops are doing better than in the past.
Faith L. Justice, Author Website
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Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Fri August 6th, 2010, 4:52 pm

I haven't heard anything "official" on this topic, buy my guess would be that the downturn in the economy over the past couple of years has hurt new booksellers, but helped libraries and used booksellers. For myself, I have gone back to vetting new-to-me authors through the library rather than buying their books.

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Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Sat August 7th, 2010, 5:44 am

There's no question that online book sales have hurt bricks-and-mortar stores. Barnes & Noble does have an online presence, but competition is tougher online. By eliminating the element of whether one local bricks-and-mortar store is more conveniently located than another, online book sales are much more price-driven.

I wouldn't be surprised if Borders bought Barnes & Noble and eliminated B&N stores that are close enough to a Borders to compete.

I'd feel sadder about this news if I lived somewhere where B&N closing might mean only one major bookstore was left. My hometown of Portland, Oregon, is very booky, so we have a B&N and a Borders in addition to our purely local behemoth, Powell's, and a whole lot of small specialty bookstores. I do buy online sometimes, but I also buy a lot of books in bookstores, because I like being able to browse among real books, and if I'm looking for something I can't buy new, I like to be able to see the quality of the copy I'm buying before I commit myself. (I really hate it when a used book is too saturated with a previous owner's perfume for me to read.)

The online vs. bricks-and-mortar competition can be a vicious cycle, because the more bricks-and-mortar stores go out of business, the more people are driven to buy online because it becomes their only reasonable option.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
Nefret
Bibliomaniac
Favorite HF book: Welsh Princes trilogy
Preferred HF: The Middle Ages (England), New Kingdom Egypt, Medieval France
Location: Temple of Isis

Postby Nefret » Sat August 7th, 2010, 6:42 am

There isn't even a B&N near me. And I gave up Borders. It was a little dull always finding like 80 books I wanted to read. :o
Into battle we ride with Gods by our side
We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
- "Into Battle"
{Ensiferum}

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Vaughn Entwistle
Scribbler
Location: Seattle, Washington

Book business churn and burn

Postby Vaughn Entwistle » Sun August 8th, 2010, 9:11 pm

I think we are seeing the effects of the so-called digital revolution coupled with a down economy creating churn in the publishing industry.

Two years ago Borders was trying to find a buyer. I'm not sure they ever did, but I know they closed stores and shed their UK operation.

This week, I heard an NPR story about Barnes and Noble, One of the reasons for their problems was cited as their late entry into the ereader market with their Nook.

The rise of ebooks has happened far quicker than industry analysts forecast. Ebook sales were supposed to double in four years. Instead, they doubled in one year and are expected to quadruple again by next year.

The down economy has also had a devastating effect. I believe the statistic is that Christmas book sales account for close to 80% of book sales for the year! Don't know what to buy Uncle Harry for Christmas? Let's just go to the bookstore and pick out a book or a calendar. That usually works, But retailers have suffered from three dreadful Christmas selling seasons in a row, and bookstores are still reeling from the effects.

Of course, the business model for publishing is a hundred years behind the times. What other business allows retailers to ship back all their unsold product and get a full refund?

Years ago, I worked in Barnes and Noble. Hardcovers can be returned to the publisher for a full refund. (They end up at places like Crown Books or Half-Off books where they are sold at deep discounts.) With paperbacks, the book store tears off the covers, which are shipped back to the publishers for full credit, and the books pulped as it is cheaper than the cost of shipping dead trees back and forth across the continent.

Like it or not, ebooks are the wave of the future. I think it will be good for authors and readers, and probably bad for publishers. Amazon.com is now getting into the publishing business, competing directly with existing publishers.

Epublishing will allow more books to see the light of day and will potentially give readers more choice. Historical fiction does not typically generate the revenues that another genre like mystery, celebrity bios, or cookbooks, so increased access to the market will be good for our favorite genre.

The Luddite in me is very uneasy about the decline of the printed book (just as I grudgingly accepted a lot of new technology like answering machines and cell phones), but each generatrion of ereader gets better and better. Ereaders like the Kindle us Eink technology which allows you to choose your font, font size and no flickering screen! Like it or not, change is upon us.

I think it is likely we will all be reading historical fiction on some kind of Ereader in the near future.

Vaughn

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sun August 8th, 2010, 10:20 pm

Just ask yourself: where are the record stores? They used to be all over the place. Of course, before 1930, there weren't any record stores, so that is a very fast-moving example of a niche that rose and fell as technology moved on.

Or for an even faster curve, take video stores: first a booming mom-and-pop business, then bigger stores, finally giants like Hollywood and Blockbuster, now being pushed out by red box and netflix, soon to be replaced by whoever offers the best digital downloads. But movie theaters still exist, because they provide more than the movie; they are a social experience in an enhanced venue.

In the Middle ages, you had many little sub-specialties in the bookmaking business: writers, paper and parchment makers, illustrators, copyists, print-block carvers, bookbinders, and people who produced decorative covers to order. The bookseller was barely in the picture. And now he's on the way out. Well, for an old technology, it's had a pretty good run.

I'm getting a Kindle this week. They finally dropped the price into my neighborhood, plus I'm going on a trip and want to take a pile of books--and the Kindle is cheaper than the airline luggage weight surcharge.

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Mon August 9th, 2010, 1:54 am

My hometown of Portland, Oregon, is very booky, so we have a B&N and a Borders in addition to our purely local behemoth, Powell's, and a whole lot of small specialty bookstores.

I was there for several days this last summer, and we spent at least part of every day in Powells. Oh. My. didn't even bother with the others (tho the daughter of a good friend works in the Borders; should have stopped by ...) I was amazed by how bookish the whole state is. We drove down quite a bit of the coast, and was amazed to find not just one, but often two or three good used bookstores along with at least one indie. Thank goodness Powells shipped, coz I ended up taking all those other books from the coast on the plane....


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