Barnes and Noble trying to find buyer?
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:33 pm 
 

I heard a comment on c-span today that Barnes and Noble is looking for a buyer. Checking around the internet the closest I could find about this was an article saying that their stock lost 50% of its value in March. They suspended dividedend payments and that as of March 24th 7 potential buyers had rejected the sales offers from B&N.

If they fail the way Borders went under are there any other national brick and mortar bookstores left? (They are the only ones left in Delaware).


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:01 pm 
 

Looks like there are some regionals, but nothing else really national:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bo ... ted_States


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:51 pm 
 

Nope, I think that's about it for national Brick and Mortar bookstores, if B&N goes down. Not that I was ever a huge fan of either of the big chains. I resented them for putting a lot of the smaller booksellers in Delaware out of business (Between Books [which is wonderful] and a half-handful of other were all that remained last I checked), so I was an early-ish adopter of Amazon. And at least Amazon has a large DC in DE.

Where I am now, there's an embarrassment of riches when it comes to small bookstores. At least 4 used book shops within 20 miles, all pretty decent, along with the specialty bookstores (Vegan/Veggie, "Pride", etc., LOL). I do like Barnes and Noble for the opportunity to buy coffee while I shop, but one of the used places in town has that too, so no big loss.

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:33 am 
 

Seems like the LGSs & comic book shops are the primary survivors. Boo hoo.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:46 pm 
 

There's Books-A-Million. According to Wikipedia:

Books-A-Million, Inc., also known as BAM!, is a company that owns the second largest U.S. bookstore chain and is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.[4] The company operates over 200 stores in the South, Midwest, and Northeast United States. As of 2010, the company had about 5,500 employees.


Not quite national, I guess.



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Post Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:51 pm 
 

I wonder if the BAM! wikipedia page has been updated since Borders closed, or if they were already the 2nd largest before that.


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:05 pm 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:I wonder if the BAM! wikipedia page has been updated since Borders closed, or if they were already the 2nd largest before that.


Yes, the page has been updated.  Prior to Borders' demise, BAM was a distant third.  

And as a long time bookseller (former GM of a Borders store), I can see B&N facing the exact same fate as Borders.  All the signs are there.  

I know that a lot of people didn't like Borders, but it was a very cool place to work and shop back in the day - before the corporate big shots took over.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:15 pm 
 

GravityThief wrote:Yes, the page has been updated.  Prior to Borders' demise, BAM was a distant third.  

And as a long time bookseller (former GM of a Borders store), I can see B&N facing the exact same fate as Borders.  All the signs are there.  

I know that a lot of people didn't like Borders, but it was a very cool place to work and shop back in the day - before the corporate big shots took over.


It's beyond my understanding how B&N has lasted this long, in competition with Amazon. I suppose Borders closing has given B&N a temporary boost, but it's just a matter of time.

Don't get me wrong, I like browsing through real books, but at Amazon just about everything is about 30-35% off all day, every day. When I looked into getting a B&N rewards card (whatever they call it), they wanted to charge me $20/year to give me 10% or 20% off every once in a while. Sure, I can't get coffee at Amazon, but I can order coffee beans, the roaster, the press-pot, and a mug, and make it my damn self. And it'll be better.


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Post Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:27 pm 
 

The day that Amazon went live was the first nail in Borders' coffin.  When we had GM meetings back in the day, they would give us time for a Q&A session with the CEO and the other big wigs.  GMs could get up and ask questions about basically anything related to the company.  I attended a GM meeting right after Amazon went live and made a big splash in the media, and was experiencing a clearly successful launch.  We'd heard nothing from home office about the company's plan for online sales.

One (brave) GM got up duing the Q&A and mentioned Amazon's immediate success and asked the group what was Borders' plan to compete.  The CEO's anwer was "Well, we don't know how big this 'online selling' thing is going to be, so we are holding off launching our own site until we see how it goes."  Needless to say, everyone else grabbed market share while Borders was "cautiously waiting".  Several *years* later Borders finally got a site up.  Too little, too late.

I hope that the failure of the big chains means the independant mom and pop bookstores can make a comeback.  But I am skeptical that they can survive.  I really don't think that they can compete with Amazon; the general public seems to care only about one thing when deciding where to shop: the cheapest price.  Walmart is a "mega-corporation" (to use a Traveller term) because people only care about price and nothing else.    Amazon is no different.  I won't buy from either one.

  


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Post Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:50 pm 
 

GravityThief wrote:The day that Amazon went live was the first nail in Borders' coffin.  When we had GM meetings back in the day, they would give us time for a Q&A session with the CEO and the other big wigs.  GMs could get up and ask questions about basically anything related to the company.  I attended a GM meeting right after Amazon went live and made a big splash in the media, and was experiencing a clearly successful launch.  We'd heard nothing from home office about the company's plan for online sales.

One (brave) GM got up duing the Q&A and mentioned Amazon's immediate success and asked the group what was Borders' plan to compete.  The CEO's anwer was "Well, we don't know how big this 'online selling' thing is going to be, so we are holding off launching our own site until we see how it goes."  Needless to say, everyone else grabbed market share while Borders was "cautiously waiting".  Several *years* later Borders finally got a site up.  Too little, too late.

I hope that the failure of the big chains means the independant mom and pop bookstores can make a comeback.  But I am skeptical that they can survive.  I really don't think that they can compete with Amazon; the general public seems to care only about one thing when deciding where to shop: the cheapest price.  Walmart is a "mega-corporation" (to use a Traveller term) because people only care about price and nothing else.    Amazon is no different.  I won't buy from either one.

Mom and pop stores existed because they were convenient. It was quicker, friendlier, and there was social capital built in to the purchase [i.e., you got to know the neighbors by shopping there]. Really, you weren't buying the same product per se as if you went somewhere else - it was a package deal. It was a nicer product, all told, and people paid accordingly.

When they ceased to be convenient, or when other convenient low-priced alternatives emerged, mom and pop stores died off. [Mom and pop stores that sell fresh food survive to a greater degree because competition is weaker.] Likewise, our taste for community interaction has fallen, likely with the move away from inner cities to the suburbs and cyber interactions.

Mom and pop stores will only re-emerge after we are attacked by legions of orcs, whose +1 spears destroy the online and transportation networks that make shopping elsewhere so efficient.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:25 pm 
 

So, if B&N goes kaput, and no one offers to take it over, what happens to the Nook? That is theirs right?


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Post Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:50 pm 
 

copycat wrote:So, if B&N goes kaput, and no one offers to take it over, what happens to the Nook? That is theirs right?


I've been reading that they have been trying to sell off the nook.


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Post Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:54 pm 
 

The Nook is an E-Pub reader.  Unlike the Kindle, it doesn't use a proprietary program for electronic books.  So, even if Barnes and Noble goes down, there will still be lots of E-Pub books out there.  That particular end of the market is likely to be taken up by another supplier.


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:16 am 
 

GravityThief wrote:
I hope that the failure of the big chains means the independant mom and pop bookstores can make a comeback.  But I am skeptical that they can survive.  I really don't think that they can compete with Amazon; the general public seems to care only about one thing when deciding where to shop: the cheapest price.  Walmart is a "mega-corporation" (to use a Traveller term) because people only care about price and nothing else.    Amazon is no different.  I won't buy from either one.


Well I dislike Wal-Mart shopping as much as the next guy, but in small town Arizona my options have always been real limited. Amazon is a godsend to people in my position. Growing up here before Wal-Mart sure we had a small bookstore (with very few books outside of romance and bibles) and a shoe store (with almost no shoes) and we had to travel at least 90 miles to get these things. Wal-mart saved us the travel time for mundane things and for the first time ever here we had a selection to choose from. Price was nice, but it was having everything available with friendly clerks that made it a destination.

Now with Amazon I can get everything I want and even things I need delivered for free and often the next day. When I read other people hating on Wal-Mart and Amazon, I wish they could see what it was like before, as opposed to now in little towns everywhere. Hell, I recently spent 8 months living in San Francisco and I still ordered things from Amazon as often times the expense and trouble of going to a B&M store was just not worth it.

I remember how much I loved Border's when they first opened, but for the last 5 years I could no longer stand shopping there. The staff was insufferable, the selection of what I wanted was non-existent, and some of the stores kept removing the comfy chairs that made going there worth the time. The reason I still even stop B&N is to use the wi-fi.

Times change, and the new retail model is here to stay. One thing I do expect though, all the empty big-box stores are gonna become cheap real-estate, and when they do I fully expect Amazon to open up showrooms similar to the old sears catalog stores, if only to get their hooks into the last hold-outs in online shopping- the cash only customer.



  

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Post Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:04 am 
 

Nogrod wrote:Well I dislike Wal-Mart shopping as much as the next guy

And I'm the next guy.  Unfortuntately, at least where I live, you cant really find goods cheaper anywhere else.  And even though I live in a nice part of town, the closest Wal-Mart store has become "ghetto".  At least that is what the Wal-Mart employees in a newer store call it.  So now I'm driving three miles further to go to the newer store where its clean, the employees are somewhat friendly, and I dont have to worry about getting mugged or ran over in the parking lot.

Nogrod wrote:Now with Amazon I can get everything I want and even things I need delivered for free and often the next day.

My wife and I are both readers and we love books.  Spending an hour or so on a Saturday afternoon in Half Price Books is one of our bi-weekly rituals.  We have a Barnes & Noble in our area but we probably havent been in it in over 6 months.  We usually only go in when we are looking for a specialty book that we can't find anywhere else or a new paperback that we just cant wait to get at HPB.  The items we usually buy from Amazon are hardbacks, DVD's and the odd music cd that might be out of print, but even that is pretty rare.  I've also bought coffee and a couple of really inexpensive tools from them and sometimes they will also have new release computer games for 40% off retail for a day.  It's hard to argue with most of their prices.  I can get a new release hardback for around $15 (with free shipping since we signed up for Amazon Prime) from Amazon while I'd have to pay over $25 in a bookstore.  And now that my wife has a Kindle, the only books she buys in a store anymore are the $1 books from the clearance section that would cost more on Amazon.

Lots of big retail chains are on the way out.  Barnes & Noble just being one of them.  Best Buy is in serious trouble as is Sears.  I hate to see books go the way of the dodo, but if it saves a few trees I'm fine with it.  :wink:

Now if only teleportation was a reality so we could get rid of all the damn airlines.  Disgruntled employees (not that I blame them), ridiculous rules, uncomfortable seats, ungodly fees and then there is the TSA.  With all the bullshit you have to put up with flying nowadays I'd rather drive.  :?


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:41 am 
 

Kingofpain89 wrote:Now if only teleportation was a reality so we could get rid of all the damn airlines.  Disgruntled employees (not that I blame them), ridiculous rules, uncomfortable seats, ungodly fees and then there is the TSA.  With all the bullshit you have to put up with flying nowadays I'd rather drive.  :?


Yep. I've been known to travel on cross country roadtrips for the very reasons you cite. That, and you get to visit odd-ball little places that you would never see if you flew.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:55 pm 
 

Kingofpain89 wrote:
Lots of big retail chains are on the way out.  Barnes & Noble just being one of them.  Best Buy is in serious trouble as is Sears.  I hate to see books go the way of the dodo, but if it saves a few trees I'm fine with it.  :wink:

Now if only teleportation was a reality so we could get rid of all the damn airlines.  Disgruntled employees (not that I blame them), ridiculous rules, uncomfortable seats, ungodly fees and then there is the TSA.  With all the bullshit you have to put up with flying nowadays I'd rather drive.  :?


Heh, my wife works for said damn airlines and she shares your opinions about them (except for the getting rid of them part, of course).



  


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:59 pm 
 

For my part, most of my business goes to Amazon/ABE because what I want to get is not on the NY Bestseller's list, and is almost never in stock, especially at B&N (Borders used to have a somewhat better selection).

For example, in my cart at Amazon I have "Woden's Warriors: Warfare, Beliefs, Arms & Armour in Northern Europe during the 6-7th Cent" and "Anglo-Saxon Art, Myth and Material Culture from the 4th to 7th Century: Wayland's Work", neither of which would EVER be found at B&N, or likely even Borders. Sure, they could special order them, but why go through a middle man, when Amazon will deliver right to my doorstep? Having B&N order, and have to make another trip at a later time just to get the book, would be, as Commander Spock might say, "Highly illogical."

And even for books that might actually be stocked, such as titles from the Osprey series, they rarely have the ones I want. I went into B&N just yesterday to use a 15% coupon, and was hard pressed to find anything I really wanted.

Really, it is less about price than availability. If they have what I want, and it is in mint shape, I might buy it on the spot. But if they don't have it, I can't buy it...

  


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:36 pm 
 

I understand that some people shop Walmart stores because of the location (convenient drive).  I can't say I'd blame someone for not wanting to drive an hour to go shopping.  I guess I am lucky; in Northeast Ohio I have a lot of options.

The biggest thing that scares me about Walmart and Amazon is that they have practically become retail monopolies.  There have been numerous media reports of Walmart strong-arming manufacturers; agree to sell to Walmart on Walmart's terms (at Walmart's desired prices) or be shut out.  That has meant numerous companies have had to decide between agreeing to deal with them or simply closing down shop.

In the world of media (books, periodicals, music, etc.) we will be heading down a slippery slope if only one or two corporations decide/control what is sold.  Will they behave themselves and not censor what is published by refusing to carry it?  

I often told my staff that our stores were, in may respects, the physical embodiment of America's freedom.  And while retail is not considered a glamorous or prestigous job in the US, they shouldn't forget how important books were to their freedom.  I'm sure it sounds kind of overly dramatic to some people, but I truly feel that way.

It seems that most Americans take their freedom for granted -  even though the media is constantly covering the struggles of other people around the world trying to gain similar freedom.  There are many, many places in the world where people cannot walk into a bookstore and buy a book on anything they'd like to read about.  I don't want to see one entity control our access to mass media.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:53 pm 
 

"practically retail monopolies"? I think that train left that station already.

I do remember driving down to Cincinnati from Columbus a few years ago and the road seemed to be nothing but farmfields broken only by the occasional Walmart.


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