Monday, November 28, 2011

Weird Barnes and Noble ad campaign.

I've been making the joke that Barnes and Noble is busily making themselves obsolete. That their goal was to put their own brick and mortar stores out of business.

After seeing their Christmas ad campaign, I don't think it's a joke anymore.

They have a customer asking about a Nook, upon which everyone in the store dances around with an e-reader in their hands, singing that their "sole purpose" is to sell you a Nook.

"Sole purpose." Their words, not mine.

Incidentally, there are paper books in the background, as if anyone still cares. Certainly, none are trying to be sold. None are shown, except as spine out far background props to the Nook. You get the sense that there would be sooooo much more space to dance with your Nook if you didn't have these stupid bookshelves in the way. Which, come to think of it, may be the intended message.

I kid you not -- you have to see these ads to believe them. It seems to be an almost gratuitous insult to books. I have to believe that such a clear statement of intent will have to impact on their book sales -- if nothing else, in how motivated the workers there are going to be. How dispiriting to think you work in a bookstore, when you really work in an electronic hardware store.

I haven't been in B & N in a long time, but I wonder in the next few years if they won't be following Borders down to closing all their stores. I'd say, "Stop pretending that you care about being booksellers," except this ad pretty much says they've stopped caring.

But hey, if that is their attitude, then they'll leave the field to those of us who still WANT to run bookstores.


Duncan McGeary said...

And before anyone tells me that they are adjusting to the new world, and anyone who isn't is selling buggy whips, I'm not even disagreeing.

Except, they are still selling buggy whips.

Reluctantly, with apparently zero interest.

I'm saying, whatever your focus is, that is what you do a good job on. What you lose interest in, you do a bad job, and it will come home to roost. guess. They'll be closing numerous bookstores by the end of the year. Either because they are doing such a horrible job of selling books or such a great job at selling Nooks.

In either event, their purpose would seem to be to make their brick and mortar stores obsolete.

Can anyone argue with the logic of that? The more successful they are at one, the less successful they are at the other.

RDC said...


The reasoning for their marketing is quite clear, with the closure of borders they are really really not competing with anyone concerning physical books in the brick and mortar space.

Their real competition is amazon. Their future as a corporation depends upon if they can effectively compete with Amazons Kindle.

If you are going to do marketing you focus it on the area where you really need to compete.

Duncan McGeary said...

Agreed. But I don't know if that contradicts anything I said.

They show where their true interests lie.

H. Bruce Miller said...

They're still selling books. They're just selling them in a new format.

They see themselves as being in the business of selling books, not the business of selling paper. From a business standpoint I think that's smart, although it offends traditionalists like you.

"The more successful they are at one, the less successful they are at the other."

Not necessarily, if you think of them as separate market niches. Nook owners will still buy "real" books; they just won't buy as many read-'em-once-and-stick-'em-on-the-shelf books. That's what the Nook is good for. Look for B&N to phase out of that type of book as the e-book supplants it.

RDC: "Their real competition is amazon. Their future as a corporation depends upon if they can effectively compete with Amazons Kindle."


Borders neglected the e-book opportunity. We can see where that got them.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean we should pull the plug on the 'public library', or has futurists like HBM&RDC ( siamese twins that share commonal rectum ) already made that decision for us?

Anonymous said...

I disagree Apple was delivering Gadgets that allowed stolen content to be delivered in any form.

Big Mall book shops were always about their place in the stock-market, and that is generational-ly gone, all hope has been lost, that's why the Borders&B-N are floundering.

Amazon is the one who is floundering the worst, doesn't know what its business is, in some ways its business was really clearing money, but paypal & google are taking that away.

Google long ago started acquiring the largest digital library in the world, it would be easy to make the 'Android' a book-reader, and then give away content. That put's everyone out of business.

It was Google that Job's ( apple ) feared most.

Nothing can be said of Borders & BN, we said it all 5 years ago, the entire model of big-malls and having big stores everywhere, that was all part of easy wall-st money. Even starbuck's following the same model you don't hear about much anymore, but they're still growing in Asia.

Lastly, most terrifying is THEY DON'T READ ANYMORE. The kids only talk about YouTube, or some video link of a talking-head. The future for books is like the future for dinosaurs.

I'm a dinosaur, but I know it,

Dunc as I have always said is a like a PDX 'vinyl shop' one of the coolest businesses you can have, because nobody does it anymore.

But watching the BIG-CORPORATIONS flounder is most boring, eventually the only thing we'll have will be GOOGLE or maybe GOOG-APPLE, everyone will have a pair of glasses or some dumb fucking gadget for viewing content, who gives a fuck.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"Does this mean we should pull the plug on the 'public library'"

The public library lends out e-books too. Which I think is great, because I don't have to trek back to the library to return 'em.

The drawback is you can only "take a book out" for 21 days. I don't understand the logic of that. Must be part of the library's deal with the publishers or retailers.

"Lastly, most terrifying is THEY DON'T READ ANYMORE. The kids only talk about YouTube, or some video link of a talking-head."

True. They seem to have lost the ability to process written information or communicate in writing. Try reading some of the shit they post on Facebook -- it's incomprehensible.