I feel like I need to comment on this article in Slate that compares what the big chain in England, Waterstones, is doing to what Barnes & Noble is doing.
I definitely think Barnes & Noble needs to find its own Russian oligarch to prop it up. Heh.
The snobbish tone of the article was off-putting. The author talking about the "garbage" he used to read (that is, entertaining, non-pretentious material) and that he never actually spent any money there (so you're that guy.)
But the basic thrust -- that a bookstore should sell books not doodads -- well, I've been saying that for years.
Barnes & Noble threw the Nook in our faces, more or less told us that physical books were on the way out. I predicted that Apple and Amazon would eat their Nook for lunch, and that too happened. It was pretty obvious.
Now that the Nook has proven to be a disaster, they are resorting to selling whatever Stuff they can get their hands on and can market. Gimmicks like Adult Coloring books.
Another little saying I have -- when your industry starts to resort to gimmicks, you're on the downslide.
So...yeah, having more books, having books that aren't placed in prominent locations because some publisher paid you to place them, having more titles, not discounting, and giving the local managers more control -- all of those pretty much describe what independent bookstores do.
So the irony is that Waterstones is recovering (supposedly, I'm not convinced without the Russian oligarch money) because they are doing more of what the independent bookstores are doing and less of what they did to put the independent bookstores out of business.
Schadenfreude overwhelms me.
6 days ago