Tuesday, January 31, 2012


A CNet, Harry McCraken gives a few ideas as to how B&N can help boost sales and save the company. As he says in his article, all he saw when he walked into B&N recently was the Nook booth and the push of digital offerings at the magazine area, people at the cafe, and a bland offering of books. Below are a few of his suggestions to make the store better:

"A more inventive selection, more inventively displayed. Sorry, B&N, but my favorite local bookseller is Green Apple Books, an independent in San Francisco that's filled to the brim with fascinating stuff. I can't go in there without immediately stumbling across several books I want to buy. By comparison, today's B&N stores have a bland, cautious feel: They're largely about the books I already know, not the ones I'd never discover otherwise.

More art books. Nooks, Kindles, and iPads still aren't great when it comes to heavily illustrated volumes. Their screens are too small and they don't have enough pixels. I suspect that coffee table books will still sell well even after novels and other more text-oriented books have mostly gone digital, so the more of them B&N stocks, the better.

Discounts! When B&N stores first started popping up everywhere, the chain's slogan was "If you paid full price, you didn't get it at Barnes & Noble." Somewhere along the line, the company ditched automatic price breaks on non-bestsellers in favor of discounts granted only to members of a club that costs $25 a year. (It must be a profit center--at the store yesterday, a cashier was trying to browbeat customers into joining up.) Given that B&N's principal competitor is Amazon, where discounts of 30, 40, and 50 percent are the norm, its books almost always feel overpriced. Might it sell many more if it charged a little less?"

You can read the whole article here.

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