Saturday, December 31, 2022

A wave is a wave.

A glowing article about Barnes and Noble and how well they're doing. Except...there are no stats, just the assertion. (They are privately owned.) They did open 30 stores, which is a sign of something, but maybe not what the article claimed.

Supposedly, new management has revived B & N. 

Maybe--but they couldn't do worse, right? 

But what I think is really happening is that Covid was, weirdly enough, very helpful to bookstores, at least ones that were open to receiving the benefits. People didn't spend money on movies, concerts, going out to dinner, etc. etc. But they could go into a bookstore (like I said, if they were "open") and buy a book. 

Never mistake a wave for your own efforts. We saw a wave of business that had nothing to do with management. 

We will probably revert back to normal over time. Fortunately for us, it gave us a chance to reinvent the store, make it more attractive to book buyers, and to really flesh out our inventory. We'll probably see a small decline over time, but I don't think we'll go back to pre-Covid levels.

We were down a little this Christmas--less than half as much as I expected and budgeted for. We managed to save the same amount of money, though, and to keep the inventory up.

My job right now is to not get in my own way. Continue to make incidental improvements, but keep the store functioning without disruption. Don't need to make major changes, though that's always an impulse of mine. 

Carry on...



Sunday, December 25, 2022

Stuff it, Sheriff of Nottingham.

We went to Toby's for Christmas on the Eve--he finally got his way and we opened our presents a day early! Now that Toby (and Danette) have a home base, they are becoming the center of celebrations because Toby insists on cooking fabulous meals. They also had a tree. And decorations. And spirit.

Linda and I? Not so much. We don't go in for a big display of spirit. A hangover from being retailers for 40+ years. It's a tad nerve-wracking every season because so much depends on those last ten days before Christmas and you can't know how you'll do until it's over. I usually managed to relax on Christmas Eve, pick some gifts from the store, and then let the week after be whatever it will be.

Todd is home with us and binging on shows he can't get at home. Watched the Glass Onion, which was fun. 

We're pretty good at picking books he likes: this year it was the entire Murderbot series. 

Walt and Freya and Loki had a howling session set off by Linda's flute, which I boosted by coming out of the bedroom from my nap and howling even louder. It was pretty funny. 

Having got Xmas out of the way on the Eve, we are going to do basically nothing today but eat cookies and leftovers. (I'm thinking about going into town and vacuuming the store which I haven't been able to do for weeks. It really, really needs it and it would be relaxing, ironically enough. I kind of like the empty store, just putzing about.)

The Sheriff of Nottingham wasn't able to cancel Christmas. We were down a bit, but this down from an extraordinary level last year, heights we will probably never see again. Budgeted properly so we made exactly the same profit as last year, so I'm pretty pleased. 

Things are going well for us, far beyond what I ever expected. 

Bless you all, and to all a good day.