Barnes & Noble Buy-Back and the Nook

By now, most readers and writers have at least heard an inkling of the latest Barnes & Noble news announced yesterday:

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While I find the news slightly curious, I am thrilled that someone feels so passionately about saving the B&N physical stores. Just last week, I walked through one, looking for a specific book. Of course, I could have gotten it on my Kindle (sorry B&N!), but in this case, I knew I would be meeting the author and I wanted his autograph. Inside, I was reminded why I love bookstores.

Barnes & Noble has certainly done a great job of trying to give the shopper more than books. Many have a Starbucks, wi-fi, a music department, and a kids’ toy/games department. Not quite the one-stop shopping of Walmart, but with a few groceries, it could be (just kidding). In spite of the non-book items, just walking through the aisles, picking up and thumbing through books, I felt a sense of calm contentment. The experience made me want to slow down. Of course, I had other errands to run but I stalled as long as possible, just wanting to spend a little more time looking.

It’s not just nostalgia. Bookstores do serve a purpose and many readers still love them. Apparently, in-store sales have the potential to hold their own, even in a world where e-readers and technology mean declining sales of physical books. The Barnes & Noble e-reader, the Nook, however, may be pushed aside. Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 9.55.12 AMIf Mr. Riggio does buy back the stores (excluding the college stores) and the website, what will become of the Nook business? It’s been reported that the Nook has been a money loser for some time. Amazon has long dominated the e-reader market and Apple’s share is growing. Although it still remains to be seen, it’s possible the Nook may be the ultimate casualty.

I hope Riggio can get the job done. I’d like to see Barnes & Noble survive and thrive for years to come along with online bookstores, independent bookstores, and libraries.

When was the last time you were in a bookstore?

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