What does it mean when Barnes & Noble, the largest bookstore chain on the planet, becomes the underdog? I guess it means that instead of bemoaning the death of the locally-owned corner bookstore, as I have been for years, soon I’ll be bemoaning the death of the Big Box Bookstore.
Barnes & Noble is airing this advertisement starting today. Produced by Barnes & Noble founder and current chairman Leornard Riggio, the plan is to try and get some customers in the door this holiday season.
I hope it works. According to a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, B&N’s retail revenue declined 1.7% in the first quarter, digital sales fell 28%, and traffic at the Barnes & Noble website was smaller in September than in it was in September of 2013.
Meanwhile, Amazon (hereinafter referred to as ‘Crapazon’) continues its quest to become the real life version of Blue Sun Corporation. Here’s a tidbit for you: Crapazon spent 774 million dollars on advertising in 2014. On advertising.
If you don’t think Amazon is evil — and I don’t use that word lightly — you should read this article. According to the article, one employee said that “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.” A former human resources director said that employees who suffered from cancer, miscarriages, and other personal physical and emotional traumas were treated unfairly and edged out. And, in July of this year, these sons-o’-bitches surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the country, with a market valuation of $250 billion, and Forbes deemed CEO Jeff Bezos the fifth-wealthiest person on earth.
Screw Bezos and the juggernaut he rode in on.
I like paper books. Sure, I have a Nook eReader. I like it and I use it a fair amount, and my books sell pretty well on the that platform. But I love paper books. Real, live, actual paper.
I used to spend lunch breaks browsing at the Books-a-Million near my job, or run in and pick up a book on the way home from work. When it closed I switched to Borders. They had a nice cafe where you could buy a book, have a muffin and sip some coffee. They closed too.
Nowadays I prefer going to Book People, but it’s kind of a drive, it’s too far to go there on lunch break, and there’s nothing else in the area. So I sometimes go the the B&N by the mall.
I like walking the aisles of a bookstore. But what the hell do I know. I also like video stores and drive-in movies.
I have to say, I’m trying to shift some of my supply chain away from Amazon. But it’s difficult at times. We deal in a cultural milieu in which price is often the only factor instead of ethics or planetary health. Still, I hear you. I’ll see how I can work on the issue on my end.
I hear you — “money talks and b.s. walks” as the saying goes. When it comes to books, I’m not browsing I use alibris.com and buy used. Very comparable to Amazon. Thrift shops are my first stop for other goods, followed by clearance racks at major retailers. I’m a total miser!
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