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Mon Feb 18, 2013, 09:57 AM

The End of Barnes & Noble


http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/02/14/barnes_noble_collapsing.html


The End of Barnes & Noble
By Matthew Yglesias | Posted Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, at 5:33 PM


Barnes & Noble has put out a genuinely impressive performance over the past several years. Here you have a retail chain, originating from a bookstore in New York City, that saw its industry being disrupted and rather nimbly decided it wanted to make a piece of computer hardware. And, amazingly, the Nook is a pretty good piece of computer hardware. If the iPad and the Galaxy Tab and the Microsoft Surface and the Kindle Fire didn't exist, you'd say the Nook was a revolutionary device.

The problem is that it's not the best such device on the market. Or even the second best. Or even the third best. And while some industries have room for many global players (think cars—GM, Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai, Ford, Nissan, PSA, Honda, Renault, etc.) it looks like there's only room for two or three platforms in this game. And B&N doesn't have one. Today they announced that contrary to earlier reports, losses in the Nook division are going to grow this year rather than staying flat. And all sales across both the Web and brick-and-mortar stores fell nearly 11 percent. They're doing an impressive job of staving off collapse in the face of massive disruption, but not good enough.

It makes me sad, personally. Before Barnes & Noble was a national behemoth it was just my neighborhood bookstore, as I grew up blocks away from the original shop. I always liked to root for it against Borders. But it won't be long for this world.


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Arrow 59 replies Author Time Post
Reply The End of Barnes & Noble (Original post)
marmar Feb 2013 OP
WCGreen Feb 2013 #1
kelliekat44 Feb 2013 #37
still_one Feb 2013 #2
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #6
oldhippie Feb 2013 #20
zappaman Feb 2013 #41
Baitball Blogger Feb 2013 #3
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #7
Warren Stupidity Feb 2013 #4
bluestate10 Feb 2013 #9
randome Feb 2013 #12
tabbycat31 Feb 2013 #13
randome Feb 2013 #15
Javaman Feb 2013 #17
randome Feb 2013 #22
Javaman Feb 2013 #32
GP6971 Feb 2013 #31
Javaman Feb 2013 #33
d_r Feb 2013 #47
sweetloukillbot Feb 2013 #24
randome Feb 2013 #48
SoCalDem Feb 2013 #51
bluestate10 Feb 2013 #5
Burma Jones Feb 2013 #8
a kennedy Feb 2013 #10
bluestate10 Feb 2013 #21
kentauros Feb 2013 #25
OneGrassRoot Feb 2013 #27
FSogol Feb 2013 #29
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #42
RetroGamer1971 Feb 2013 #53
seaglass Feb 2013 #11
marmar Feb 2013 #14
seaglass Feb 2013 #18
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #45
tabbycat31 Feb 2013 #23
seaglass Feb 2013 #28
tabbycat31 Feb 2013 #34
seaglass Feb 2013 #35
tabbycat31 Feb 2013 #36
ellenfl Feb 2013 #52
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #44
stevenleser Feb 2013 #55
seaglass Feb 2013 #56
stevenleser Feb 2013 #58
Orrex Feb 2013 #16
brooklynite Feb 2013 #19
Capt. Obvious Feb 2013 #26
lunatica Feb 2013 #30
Johonny Feb 2013 #38
Cleita Feb 2013 #39
Taverner Feb 2013 #40
zappaman Feb 2013 #43
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #46
d_r Feb 2013 #49
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #59
SoCalDem Feb 2013 #50
sweetloukillbot Feb 2013 #54
seaglass Feb 2013 #57

Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:00 AM

1. Yea, I guess the idea of goingto the bookstore to look at the pretty

girls is going to be a thing of the past.

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:16 PM

37. They won't have to burn the books to keep society ignorant...just but all books in electronic format

If you can't afford or can't use electronic media it's your own damn fault for not being among the privileged.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:02 AM

2. and I remember when Barnes & Noble themselves put out of business a lot of mom and pop bookstores.

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Response to still_one (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:06 AM

6. Yep, what goes around comes around. Coexistence just doesn't seem to be an option, what a shame. n/t

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Response to still_one (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:55 AM

20. I've rarely lived anywhere big enough to have a mom and pop .....

..... bookstore. Other than a couple of small Christian bookstores, I can't think of one anywhere I have ever lived in the US.

Now there's a B&N about 25 miles from me that I like to visit now and then to get a Starbucks and peruse some books. I'll miss it when it goes.

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Response to oldhippie (Reply #20)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:51 PM

41. Only one left by me, but it's a good one!

If you are ever in Venice, CA, check out http://smallworldbooks.com/
Great mom and pop with a cat sleeping between the books!

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:04 AM

3. I weep for the closing of the bookstores.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:08 AM

7. I'm wondering about libraries too. We have a very extensive network of libraries in this county, I

often wonder if it's just a matter of time before brick and mortar libraries are gone.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:04 AM

4. B&N and Borders killed neighborhood book stores.

My sympathy is limited. But the deeper problem of what replaces the bookstore in the community is something that concerns me.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:13 AM

9. Small niche bookseller that cater to devout readers will replace them. But the owners won't

be expecting to become rich or sell public stock. Small publishers will still print books, but they won't be economically significant, but will have a business that can sustain a family of small group of employees.

As far as information that is contained in books, that will be available from large, centralized databases and sold instantly on demand, owners of such businesses will get rich and offer stock and if they run the business well, will survive and prosper for centuries.

You should be more concerned about what happens to book writers. That is the area that I fear the most damage to. Instead of books being written out of passion and deep interest, future books will lean more and more toward being written per some formula that will be predicated and enforced by big information sellers.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:28 AM

12. How did they 'kill' neighborhood book stores? By existing?

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Response to randome (Reply #12)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:31 AM

13. see the movie 'You've Got Mail'

Even though it's a love story, the subplot is when Tom Hanks' book giant puts Meg Ryan's local bookstore out of business.

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Response to tabbycat31 (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:38 AM

15. Bleh to Tom Hanks but thanks for the response.

I just don't see everything as 'evil corporations' out to destroy the world. If people didn't prefer shopping at B&N, they would cease to exist.

I've bought many a book from small, neighborhood Mom & Pop bookstores but I have bought plenty at B&N, too.

The smaller Mom & Pop stores either don't get new releases or don't have the variety you can find in bigger stores.

It's just cultural evolution in the end, I think.

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Response to randome (Reply #15)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:50 AM

17. "The smaller Mom & Pop stores either don't get new releases"

That's because smaller book stores don't have the leverage of hundreds of stores to sell tons of books.

The B&N's buying strategy is much like wal-mart in the vein that, they can buy huge quantities of books while mom & pops only buy a few copies.

The book reader knows there is an off chance the mom & pop place will have the book, but knows for certain that B&N will have it. So instead of going to the smaller store and hoping the book is in, they go to the corp B&N knowing that the book will be there.

See?

It's sad, but at the same time, while amazon, kindle, ipad, etc are pretty much the trend, the ending of large corp books stores to me, seems like opportunity for the smaller stores to fill a niche for people who, like myself, prefer books over the electronic version.

Plus there is also this...

Some E-Books Are More Equal Than Others
http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/some-e-books-are-more-equal-than-others/

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned.

But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people’s Kindles and credited their accounts for the price.

This is ugly for all kinds of reasons. Amazon says that this sort of thing is “rare,” but that it can happen at all is unsettling; we’ve been taught to believe that e-books are, you know, just like books, only better. Already, we’ve learned that they’re not really like books, in that once we’re finished reading them, we can’t resell or even donate them. But now we learn that all sales may not even be final.

As one of my readers noted, it’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.

A little bit more at the link...

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Response to Javaman (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:07 AM

22. I don't see that e-books are going to replace physical books any time soon.

And yes, what Amazon did stinks.

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Response to randome (Reply #22)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:46 AM

32. I don't think so either, but they are taking a bite out of the paper back market. nt

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Response to Javaman (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:33 AM

31. Time to hide our hard copies. n/t

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Response to GP6971 (Reply #31)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:46 AM

33. +1 nt

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Response to Javaman (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 01:14 PM

47. I think that this is more of a copy right issue

the company that had put the Orwell books on kindle for sale didn't have the rights to them

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Response to randome (Reply #12)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:11 AM

24. I worked for Borders during their boom in the late 90s

There were always rumblings about small boxstores being closed because of them. But I look around Phoenix now and the great small stores - The Poisoned Pen, Changing Hands, Bard's Books.. They're still there. While the big boxes are disappearing. My favorite, the Bent Cover, closed, but I think that was more to do with the owner passing away a few years ago. B&N went into Flagstaff and the tiny feminist bookstore, Aradia, didn't close, nor did the big used bookstore, Bookman's. But even before the big box stores, I shopped at the mall shops like B Dalton or Walden more often than driving to a mom-and-pop shop. If a small store has a niche - usually a devoted sales base and good Internet presence, it survived.

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Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #24)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 01:21 PM

48. Maybe it's what has been pointed out in this thread. Niche markets will continue.

Thanks for the perspective.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 01:34 PM

51. We used to have a very nice (and small) Walden-books..

I could always find something great there..and then Borders & B&N came to town...soon we will have No bookstores..

We used to have 3 small stationery/gift stores and now we have none..just the overly expensive Hallmark store and Staples/Office Depot.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:05 AM

5. Books and bookstores are the horse and buggy of our age. They will still exist, but have a smaller

, tiny footprint. People will always read and some people passionately love the feel of a book in their hands. But with education and many other functions that used books going more and more digital, I don't see how B&N, or even Borders can survive.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:09 AM

8. Borders disappeared already......

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:27 AM

10. but's really sad is the public library is going to be next......

As the prevalence of e-books, Kindles and Nooks continues to grow, is it time to rethink our need for libraries in a digital world? Some say we need libraries more than ever.

"Users of public library Internet connections tell surveyors that they're applying for jobs, doing homework, getting information about health care, finding out about government benefits and managing their finances," wrote Susan Crawford, a visiting professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School, in a recent New York Times Room for Debate.

As technology develops, some are rethinking the traditional library. James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass., helped reconceptualize their school's library.

From his piece in The New York Times:

A small collection of printed books no longer supports the type of research required by a 21st century curriculum. We wanted to create a library that reflected the reality of how students do research and fostered what they do, one that went beyond stacks and stacks of underutilized books ...

Our library is now the most-used space on campus, with collaborative learning areas, classrooms with smart boards, study sections, screens for data feeds from research sites, a cyber cafe, and increased reference and circulation stations for our librarians. It has become a hub where students and faculty gather, learn and explore together.

Tracy will join The Daily Circuit Monday, Feb. 18 to discuss the future of libraries. Kit Hadley, director of the St. Paul Public Library system, will also join the discussion.

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/01/14/daily-circuit-future-of-libraries

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Response to a kennedy (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:56 AM

21. Libraries will change. The concern should be whether they will get funds.

As wealthier families have the resources in their living room to access vast information databases, public libraries will be utilized more and more by poorer citizens. The shift presents a societal problem because funding for public libraries will come under attack from short-sighted politicians, since the people that have the will to vote them out of office have no real stake in public libraries and may not see their elimination as a hot button issue and a danger to all of society.

I expect public libraries to become more event oriented. They will offer events that draw in children, and parents from all economic stratas. The events will be what keeps public funding flowing in and the events will allow libraries to serve poor citizens who will more and more rely on public libraries as books and newspapers decline.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:13 AM

25. Libraries are adapting,

thanks to forward-thinking librarians:

Ebooks For Libraries

E-books in Libraries: They Still Don't Get It

And it appears that while public funding is a big roadblock to the future of libraries, the publishers are putting up even bigger blocks. That's primarily from the biggest publishers, often labeled as "The Big Six" or "legacy publishers". The smaller ones don't seem to be so narrow-minded.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:17 AM

27. I see them as cornerstones of our communities...

and there are ways to position them as such.

More and more people need their services now more than ever.

I agree...libraries will change.

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Response to a kennedy (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:22 AM

29. My library already offers ebooks and even e-audiobooks.

You can listen online or download the book onto what devices/devices you want.

Check out Fairfax County's electronic library.
http://fairfax.lib.overdrive.com/42BA792B-7C43-4D49-96A1-E37DD66BDDAA/10/50/en/Default.htm


The physical library is in little danger here either.
http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/
They've build 2 new ones in the last 10 years and just extended the operating hours. I love my library system.

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Response to a kennedy (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:52 PM

42. No they won't, they have adapted to the needs of communities

The only thing that will kill libraries will be short-sighted politicians. Go into any public library and see how busy and vibrant they are, talk to any public library employment and ask how they are adapting to the public's needs.

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Response to a kennedy (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 02:22 PM

53. Here is a great piece about the importance of libraries in the 21st century!

http://flavorwire.com/371702/25-writers-on-the-importance-of-libraries

25 Writers On The Importance Of Libraries - Flavorwire:
"British children’s author Terry Deary — best known for his Horrible Histories series and controversial chatter about the nation’s school systems — told the Guardian he thinks libraries “have had their day.” He’d prefer that people buy their books instead of borrowing them, claiming that “books aren’t public property.” Deary added, “Authors, booksellers and publishers need to eat. We don’t expect to go to a food library to be fed.” The cranky comments feel like a swift kick in the teeth since libraries around the world are struggling against significant budget cuts each year, and authors have been tirelessly advocating for their importance. We gathered a few passionate statements from 20 writers that emphasize why libraries aren’t “sentimental” institutions. See what Neil Gaiman, Judy Blume, Ray Bradbury, and other writers have to contribute to the conversation, below."

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Response to marmar (Original post)


Response to seaglass (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:35 AM

14. If the Nook is losing money, and both online and in-store sales are dropping substantially.....


...... it's not looking too bright.


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Response to marmar (Reply #14)


Response to marmar (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:54 PM

45. The KIndle is also not a profit maker

Every Kindle sold either breaks even or loses money. It's a loss leader.

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Response to seaglass (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:08 AM

23. You've got a point there

I am a new e-reader customer (Kindle Fire HD) and I only know one person who has a Nook, but many who have Kindles.

Of course the person with the Nook is the one with the most similar reading tastes to my own so I wish we could lend each other ebooks.

I haven't gone into a physical bookstore in awhile. I used to hang out at them but I've notice the political section is increasingly Glenn Beck and company. All the physical books I've read lately have been from the library, but I prefer reading on my Kindle.

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Response to tabbycat31 (Reply #23)


Response to seaglass (Reply #28)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:48 AM

34. I've bought quite a few Kindle books

I got my Kindle shortly before Christmas (right after I got back from the campaign trail) and all of my friends and family knew that I had my eyes on the Kindle for ahwile, and they all bought me Amazon gift cards.

So far I have not spent more than $3 for an ebook. Mostly I go to sites like Pixel of Ink and The Ereader Cafe and scope out the freebies.

As a campaign staffer, I am on the road for a long time and miss reading when I'm on the road (I don't want to pack too much). Having an ereader makes it a lot easier, and less to worry about.

The one thing I'm very jealous of the Nook is it's compact size. My friend's fits in his coat pocket and I'm insanely jealous.

I'm reading more physical books now because I want to take advantage of the library when I'm not on the road.

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Response to tabbycat31 (Reply #34)


Response to seaglass (Reply #35)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:15 PM

36. If I was close to my sister I'd get her card info

My county library (which I pay into) does not do ebooks for paid members, but my local one (that has a bad selection of paper books) buys into the state (NJ) system. I still have not figured out how it works.

I could also use my parents library (NY) but I also need to figure out how that works.

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Response to seaglass (Reply #28)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 02:10 PM

52. i bought a kindle but sold it pretty quickly to buy a nook.

it was a loyalty thing because i have been a member of b&n for years . . . plus, they're blue. i didn't want to buy my books from amazon.

i just wish the nook weighed less.

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Response to seaglass (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:53 PM

44. I like my Nook way better than my Kindle

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Response to seaglass (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 02:45 PM

55. I would have bought the nook if it gave you access to the entire android market. Limiting that

was the difference for me in going to another tablet. I wanted to support B&N, but only having access to their limited suite of apps was not acceptable.

I actually use the Nook app on my droid tablet and that is how I buy books and other materials because as I said, I want to support them.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #55)


Response to seaglass (Reply #56)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 03:04 PM

58. I really only use mine for an e-reader too. But the fact that I couldnt do more if I wanted to made

the choice in the end. I know it sounds somewhat silly, but I felt you never know for what you might need a tool like that. It was a lot to spend knowing the limitation.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:42 AM

16. Damn! Where will I go for coffee, pastries, and overpriced toys?

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:54 AM

19. The two points have nothing to do with each other...

The success or failure of the bookstores is not related to the success or failure of the nook. It has to do with the general preference of people to buy online and the growing preference to read electronically, regardless of the device.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:15 AM

26. I love B&N

and they can't go out of business - I just got a Nook for Christmas and still haven't put books on it.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:27 AM

30. It's interesting, albeit it can be sad, to see how modern

technology changes society. As a lifelong scifi fan this doesn't surprise me at all. The home computer has indeed changed the world. As soon as computers were used to exchanging information with each other it was the death knell for a lot of seemingly solid businesses.

It's interesting to me that the college students that I hire as Readers right now were all born around 1990. They grew up with computers, video games, the internet, knowing how to use keyboards, cell phones and ipads. In my office we have a saying: If you can't figure out how to use a new gadget just hand it to one of the students so they can show you.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:38 PM

38. is this good or bad for the book industry in general

Buying stuff online is great if you know what it is you want to buy, but I find it horrible for casual browsing. There is something fun about actual strolling through stores and discovering new things. Some of my favorite books I would never have thought to even look up online to purchase...

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:48 PM

39. I always like browsing bookstores since the old days that I spent hours at Pickwick's in Hollywood.

They carried just about every book published, not just the pop backlist, new releases and how to do books of Barnes & Noble, but books that were real niche genres. They classified the books by publishers so if you liked a certain publisher's releases better than others you could find everything they published in that section. I do like going to our local Barnes & Noble for coffee and to browse the magazines. I really haven't bought much there in years as the paperbacks, I lived on back in my Pickwick days when I was young, had become too expensive for me to buy today so I pretty much have to rely on the library for my reading material.

RIP B & N. It's a sad day.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:51 PM

40. Amazon should buy them

 

If anything, so that the Nook world stays alive

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:52 PM

43. I still frequent the last mom and pop I know of nearby.

http://smallworldbooks.com/

If you ever are in Southern CA, check 'em out!

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 01:03 PM

46. B & N has a huge e-textbook market

They've had a huge print on for years. They have taken that to the next level with e-textbooks for the Nook and other e-readers.

There is nothing wrong with having fewer big-box bookstore. I only buy a few print books anymore. I don't even buy a lot of ebooks. I use the library for both.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #46)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 01:27 PM

49. yes and they run college bookstores

honestly for reading a book I like e-ink kindles better than color or android tablets as readers. The tablets are better for other stuff of course.

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Response to d_r (Reply #49)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 12:03 PM

59. I do, too

It's easier on my eyes.

I thought about the college bookstores later, but was really busy yesterday, and didn't get a chance to edit.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 01:31 PM

50. Extreme growth is not always a good thing.

There is a case to be made for going back to small-local-sustainable, of course when people are mostly broke or nearly broke, they look for super-cheap, and that usually means walmart

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #50)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 02:30 PM

54. Thats one thing I think killed Borders

E-books and piracy and all that were just the final nail. The problem was when the company was flush with cash in the late 90s, they started putting stores on every corner and tried to move overseas. They ignored Amazon, figuring it was a fad that would go away. But even the bookstore experience they were trying to create was watered down because 3 Borders in one town - 1 on the east side, 1 downtown and 1 on the westside - are destinations, 10 are eating into each others' customer base.

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Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #54)

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