Jess Kornbluth's Idea for Revitalizing Barnes & Noble Bookstores

From Publishers Weekly, Feb 1, 2013

An idea for reinventing the country’s largest bricks-and-mortar bookseller…

…B&N’s troubles predate Amazon. They start with its decision to open superstores in a culture that sees the average American adult read a book a year. And its long history of unforced errors continues with its decision to close many of those stores instead of creating more inviting locations. What B&N should do is what bureaucracies and battleships generally can’t: make a 90-degree turn at full speed.

B&N’s best hope for survival is to get halfway out of the book business—it should abandon its legacy identity, reconfigure its mission and merchandise, and trumpet its rebirth. Start with its identity. B&N’s stores in shopping malls are huge. The animating idea: “We’ve got any book you could ever want.” That’s a flawed strategy. We can handle too much choice in the cereal aisle of the supermarket because the brands are evergreen and heavily advertised, but miles of aisles in a bookstore are a turnoff.…”

One Response to Jess Kornbluth's Idea for Revitalizing Barnes & Noble Bookstores

  1. Kathy P. says:

    The thing I find frustrating about Barnes & Noble is that they don't have every book. I mean, they always have it at some store somewhere, but rarely do they have the book I'm looking for at my local store. They'll tell me it's available at a BN in a city 50 miles away.

    And their prices are always higher than Amazon's anyway, so guess where I get most of my books? The main reason I'd buy from my local BN is so I don't have to wait to get it, but if what I want isn't in stock, and I'll have to wait anyway, then of course they lose my business to Amazon.

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