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Adding ["B&N" AND "closing"] to my Google Alerts last year has produced a fascinating picture. This has always been a tale of leases. One of the key reasons Borders imploded was that many of their long term leases weren't going to come due for 5 years plus. B&N was in a better position. Many of theirs were terminating earlier. I'd assumed this meant that they would use this added leverage to renegotiate many of them at lower rates, but that was before this holiday season's shockingly bad results. Now we're seeing more and more straight-up closures.

It is important to note that the Nook division of B&N is behind a legal firewall. If B&N implodes, Nook Media LLC will float off into the sunset with that 300 million dollar cash infusion Microsoft gave them. The employees left behind won't be as lucky. And we're talking well over thirty thousand people here.

Sad news all around.

B.
 

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It seems to me, albeit from a totally anecdotal frame of reference, that B&N goes out of its way to make sure it's Nook bookstore is awful. I imagine them logging into Amazon and then covering their eyes and going "la la la la la la" as they scroll through all the lists and various ways to help readers find things, ignoring it all and logging out before leaning back and saying to one another, "Yeah, we're solid. How bout a round of golf?"
 

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I never buy books at B&N stores... what I do is buy a Starbucks coffee, walk around and look at books.  If I see a book I'm interested in, I take a photo of it with my phone and download a sample when I get home.  ;)
 

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CabanaBooks.com said:
If I see a book I'm interested in, I take a photo of it with my phone and download a sample when I get home. ;)
You know you can just open the book and read a "sample" right there in the store, right?
 

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John Daulton said:
It seems to me, albeit from a totally anecdotal frame of reference, that B&N goes out of its way to make sure it's Nook bookstore is awful. I imagine them logging into Amazon and then covering their eyes and going "la la la la la la" as they scroll through all the lists and various ways to help readers find things, ignoring it all and logging out before leaning back and saying to one another, "Yeah, we're solid. How bout a round of golf?"
I have to agree. From allowing spam in their reviews to the lack of lists to a god-awful search engine, they have to be working to make it bad.
 

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It's sad that B&N are subsiding, but it's not the end of the world. Books were sold before the Borders and B&N rose to prominence, and books will be sold long after they have sunk into retail history.

Hopefully, some entrepreneurial souls will see this as a sign that small, independent bookshops have a place on the retail landscape again. Hopefully, it will see the end of some of the more dubious business practices that were the scourge of the newly published and mid-list authors.

And let's not forget that there are 16,000+ public libraries scattered across the USA where people can go and fondle books in comfort. Just because the shops are closed, doesn't mean people will never see a book again.  
 

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What fascinates me is the fact that even with the Internet, it is nearly impossible to find a printer in the US who will print up an order of hardback books. I finally succeeded, but not after a fair number of rather pointed exchanges with "printers" who didn't seem to have any idea what I was talking about.

I can only imagine what it must be like for a bookstore. If we really have lost the knowledge and expertise in our society and economy to print and bind a hardcover book and make that service generally available, it stands to reason that the stores which rely on that basic function would be having problems.

that B&N goes out of its way to make sure it's Nook bookstore is awful.
Most US companies divested themselves entirely of employees with computer skills 15 years ago. They were gettin' too uppity and makin' too much money.

And let's not forget that there are 16,000+ public libraries scattered across the USA
For now. If you listen carefully you will hear the growing drumbeat against libraries, what with all the scary homeless people who lurk in them. School libraries have already been defunded, bulldozed and banned hereabouts while all the librarians were gleefully and vigorously fired.

According to the "everyone should major in engineering" crowd, librarian is not a marketable skill, you see.
 

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Couldn't care less. In fact, it seems rather appropo that the same cutthroat business practices that brought them to prominence is now killing them off. If you don't change with the times, the times leave you behind and you wither and die. I suspect, and I have no evidence to back this statement up, that things will get better for both readers and writers after the dust of B&N's collapse settles, and new things start to grow, spurred on by the void in the market place they leave behind. I only hope that small indie bookstores are the ones that fill that void, and all of them with POD systems into which self-pubbed authors can feed their files.
 

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Herc- The Reluctant Geek said:
It's sad that B&N are subsiding, but it's not the end of the world. Books were sold before the Borders and B&N rose to prominence, and books will be sold long after they have sunk into retail history.

Hopefully, some entrepreneurial souls will see this as a sign that small, independent bookshops have a place on the retail landscape again.
If the indie book stores couldn't compete with Borders and B&N, they sure as heck aren't going to be competing successfully with Amazon for a workable piece of a smaller paper book market. If B&N goes, new paper books will be available only in Walwarts and supermarkets and Targets in the vast majority of towns in the U.S. It's the last thing I want to see happen -- an impossible situation for midlist authors -- and will cement Amazon's dominance over the paper market ridiculously.

Sent from my LG-VS700 using Tapatalk 2
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Becca Mills said:
It's the last thing I want to see happen -- an impossible situation for midlist authors -- and will cement Amazon's dominance over the paper market ridiculously.
Speaking of mid-list authors everyone might want to take a look at this interesting post by Diana Pharoah Francis on her inability to do more to sell her books - she specifically brings up B&N.

http://www.magicalwords.net/diana-pharaoh-francis/6876/
 

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I think their physical stores are lovely. But as I've said before, I think Starbucks needs to purchase the chain of them and turn them into coffee-gift-book emporiums.

The online store, it seems, might be left in the dust by competitors willing and able to provide a better buying environment.

So far as independent bookstores, there will be a shift to larger ones. They will double as community centers for the literary-minded. Anecdotally, we had a B&N close in our town a year ago and just a month ago a beautiful big indie store opened downtown.
 

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I noticed just the other day that the B&N by my home, the one I went to often to look for ideas on book covers, was gone.  I have to admit, my heart sunk just a little. 

I love book stores.  Love them!  I could literally spend hours inside one and do nothing but pick up books and look.  In our area, we have so few left. 
 

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Anyone else notice the slow evolve of Books A Million into "BAM" books, music, toys and whatever other nick-nacks they can stock. I still love book stores (whenever I can get to one as none are close!) but it's a bad sign for the future of dead tree distirbution when the only way they can stay in business is by selling everything else BUT books.
 

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Becca Mills said:
If the indie book stores couldn't compete with Borders and B&N, they sure as heck aren't going to be competing successfully with Amazon for a workable piece of a smaller paper book market. If B&N goes, new paper books will be available only in Walwarts and supermarkets and Targets in the vast majority of towns in the U.S. It's the last thing I want to see happen -- an impossible situation for midlist authors -- and will cement Amazon's dominance over the paper market ridiculously.
Indie bookstores have been on the rise, actually. Largely from the closing of Borders. There will always be readers who want to support local bookstores. Not enough to keep the big chains open, but most large cities have a local bookshop that does well. If B&N closes down, the indies will pick up what little slack is left. (Most people will be purchasing their books online, of course. But not everyone).
 

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On Diana Pharoah Francis, this line stood out: "many books aren’t even getting into BN. They are not getting shelf space at all. If a series isn’t doing well enough, the sequels simply don’t get ordered, a lot more than used to happen"

Well duh. Welcome to the world of 30 years ago I grew up in. Unless, of course, you happened to live in a major city or college town. People talk about this stuff like we always had these large stores on every streetcorner that sold a huge variety of books and that the decline of those superstores is somehow unusual.

When I was a tween to teen (and with no cable tv or internet, an almost ludicrously voracious reader regularly devouring 2-4 books a week), your options were simple: the indie store that had nothing but new releases and best seller, Waldens at the mall that had nothing but new releases and best sellers, or Paperback Booksmith at the other mall that had slightly more than the new releases and best sellers. And that was it. You got older books by ordering them or visiting a specialty indie who was, in my case, a two hour drive (that's on the highway) away.

Bounders and Buns and Noodle were an absolute nirvana for physical books, but probably an unsustainable one commercially. They put a lot of indies and other chains out of business because of the larger selection, but it was only a matter of time until even the successful locations realized that 90% of their income came from the 10% of stock which was, well, the same new releases and best sellers that Waldens used to stock. So now they're dropping locations or replacing that unproductive stock with other items.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
D.L. Shutter said:
Anyone else notice the slow evolve of Books A Million into "BAM" books, music, toys and whatever other nick-nacks they can stock. I still love book stores (whenever I can get to one as none are close!) but it's a bad sign for the future of dead tree distirbution when the only way they can stay in business is by selling everything else BUT books.
You just blew my mind. Books A Million is still around?! I thought they closed down years ago. At least the physical stores in Georgia did.
 

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Becca Mills said:
If B&N goes, new paper books will be available only in Walwarts and supermarkets and Targets in the vast majority of towns in the U.S. It's the last thing I want to see happen -- an impossible situation for midlist authors -- and will cement Amazon's dominance over the paper market ridiculously.
I agree with Hugh, Passive Voice guy posted an article on the rise of indie bookstores recently. But, still, with the loss of 2,000 physical B&N I'm gonna guess US physical book sales will fall by 40-50%. Now, I've heard the Big Six are making money hand over fist on ebooks, but I think that's mostly the best sellers, not the mid listers. Without a best seller push and with rapidly decreasing physical book shelf space, most mid listers are going to get more and more ebook only deals (or might as well). And at 17.5% royalties versus 70% I would hope more of those mid listers would start asking themselves what value they're getting for the trade off, but who knows.
 

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Wansit said:
Speaking of mid-list authors everyone might want to take a look at this interesting post by Diana Pharoah Francis on her inability to do more to sell her books - she specifically brings up B&N.

http://www.magicalwords.net/diana-pharaoh-francis/6876/
Wow. This is the kind of author I'd totally expect to find on the shelves in every B&N. In fact, I'm pretty sure I picked up Bitter Night in a B&N. If they're not stocking her ... well, that says an awful lot about the shrinkage of the mass-market paperback market.
 
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