Monday, January 30, 2012

Big surprise -- having half your market in two stores isn't a good idea.

A New York Times article on Barnes and Noble.

The publishers are scared to death that Barnes and Noble is going to follow Borders into going out of business, dragging book sales with them.

Because independent bookstores only account for 8% of the sales.

Well -- who's fault is that?

Did it ever occur to these morons that supporting Borders and Barnes and Noble instead of the independent bookstores was putting all their eggs in one basket?

It was inevitable and foreseeable.

And avoidable. Giving preferential treatment to the big box stores was going to kill the independents. This isn't in dispute. The publishers were sued and found guilty of doing exactly that. They still do, just in legal ways.


And your base, basically, are the small stores all throughout the U.S.A. This was true of sports cards, and it was true of the music industry, and it's true of book publishers.

Like the sport card manufacturers before them, and the album producers, the book publishers went full blast into the big box stores. They couldn't be bothered with the little guy.

I know what some of you are saying: The big box stores sold more, they had a better model, why should the manufacturers fight it?

I'm not saying they should have fought it. I'm saying they shouldn't have cooperated so thoroughly to it. Really, it was collusion. They saw big bucks in chain stores and they didn't put a moment's thought into slipping the knife into the small stores by making it difficult to compete. Whatever they told themselves, they gave better terms to the big boxes.

The big box mass market chains stores achieved their size and pricing because the manufacturers HELPED THEM DO IT!

I just get tired of the media leaving out this step.

The manufacturers were responsible for the market they got. They could have made more of a level playing field.

Even -- gasp -- giving preferential treatment to independents, if they had to give preferential treatment at all.

Bulk discounts (I'm sorry, selling 10,000 books to a hundred independents, or 10,000 to one bookstore, you STILL sell 10,000 books.)

Exclusives, early shipping, overships, expanded returns, longer payment terms, endcaps, cheaper prices, etc. etc.

They did it in a hundred ways, folks.

It's their own damn fault.


Anonymous said...

I have a theory, about "big" biz in general. Everybody that works there is working their way up the ladder. Instead of cultivation, the goal is exploitation. Get the $$$ money now, and move on. "Future be damned, cause I will be somewhere else when it goes to shambles." Thus the last schmucks in the place get stuck.

I think it's a cultural problem.

Heroes Haven

Duncan McGeary said...


I even think the big box stores were Ponzi schemes and as soon as they can't expand, they're done.

It's joke that they think they can go back to smaller stores.

You know, regular stores that they were supposedly supplanting.

What about the advantages of big boxes? Nevermind.

Anonymous said...

big boxes

big pricks

big egos

nothing beats a profitable small biz,

the big corp averages over 150X salary for big guy over average employee, the big isn't sustainable in our current times of jealousy and redistribution

Anonymous said...

A lot can be said of this subject, I think to watch is this new buzz about right-think, going back to using deductive inference rather than the current inductive model, is the new KMART SUIT buzz be sold to solve our 'gridlock' problem,

Yep, a small biz man can't be in a hurry to get rich, and nobody can give him a 'golden parachute', ...

We just came out of a once in a life 90 year cycle, the last 30 years you just had to be there to make money,... now the investment money will be gone for the next 20+ years de-leveraging will continue,... 'smart money' will be watched like a hawk, ... easy money is bend-over(tm).

The only think I see working for CORP-BIG america is the BIG-PRISON model, but even that's got to end, if sanity in the USA is to be found.

The future war in DEM&PUG poly-ticks will be the DEM protecting the public prison unions, and the PUG's trying to privatize the most profitable biz in ameriKKKa.

For the 'little guy' being smart enough to keep out of the prison industry's need for fodder will be the most useful skill to have.

Bewert said...

Hi Dunc, just thought I would link to this article on the surface water thing that is going to cost you guys tens of millions if it goes through.

It's from Allan Bruckner, who I once thought of as a dick, and published by Cascade Business News, of all people. Totally agree that the water should stay in the Tumalo, and drilling wells is way cheaper for you guys:

H. Bruce Miller said...

"I even think the big box stores were Ponzi schemes and as soon as they can't expand, they're done."

It's all about driving up the stock price, by which the bonuses of the top executives are determined (not to mention the value of their stock options). To drive up the stock price you have to keep growing. That means opening more stores. Eventually you've saturated the market, and then you're screwed. But by then the executives have pocketed their winnings and walked away from the table. They couldn't care less about the long-term health of the company.