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Barnes & Noble has been destroyed by Amazon

5 December 2015

From CNN Money:

Should Barnes & Noble just rename itself Amazon’s Showroom?

The book and music retailer said sales fell again in its most recent quarter. It also reported a bigger loss than last year — and more red ink than what analysts were expecting.

Perhaps most alarmingly, Barnes & Noble’s long-term debt tripled from a year ago to $192 million. The company has only $13.4 million in cash — down from $32 million a year ago.

Shares of Barnes & Noble plunged more than 20% on the news and are now down nearly 40% this year.

Barnes & Noble has struggled for years to compete (say the rest of the sentence like it’s a movie trailer) IN A WORLD WHERE CONSUMERS HAVE GONE MAD FOR SHOPPING ONLINE AT AMAZON.

. . . .

Barnes & Noble’s efforts to keep up with Amazon have mostly been in vain. The company said online sales actually fell 22% in its most recent quarter after it launched a new website that had some notable glitches.

. . . .

Interestingly, nobody talked about Amazon specifically during a conference call with analysts. Perhaps analysts have learned not to mention Amazon — sort of like “the war” to the German guests in that episode of “Fawlty Towers.”

. . . .

The company has to fix its online problems. Boire said that the search functions need to improve on the site and that it needs a faster checkout experience. He stressed that online is a great opportunity for the company.

Link to the rest at CNN Money and thanks to Doria for the tip.

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24 Comments to “Barnes & Noble has been destroyed by Amazon”

  1. Sorry, but that opening line is just….

  2. Wasn’t it just the other day that a study was quoted as saying around 6% deliberately showroom even when using their cellphone on checking an item in a store?

    It’s cool that they finally recognized their search engine could use some work though. I’ve seen authors complaining they couldn’t search their own books on it. If people find what they want then perhaps they can generate some sales.

    • This is why I don’t shop there. Not because of my own books, but because the one time I tried to find a book, using the exact title and auhor’s name, it was a nightmare. That was many years ago and from what I understand, searching their site isn’t any easier now. They’re in the process of committing suicide. A long slow stupid form of suicide.

    • 6 months from now, I guarantee nothing will have changed with regards to search. In fact, if anything it will have gotten worse. I’m almost certain this company moves backwards while everyone else takes a million steps forward.

      And you can hardly blame another company for your demise just because they’re doing a better job than you. Seems a little pathetic, really.

  3. As B&N ‘destroyed’ many a indie and small bookstore with their way of doing ‘business’, I see nothing wrong with someone else coming by and doing them in in turn. That’s just life.

    Adapt or die Barnes & Noble …

  4. B&N was destroyed by executive pomposity and lack of imagination. Lack of imagination is always fatal in any industry that can be seriously impacted by new technology. Many years ago, B&N had a single store in Manhattan where you could sell your textbooks when you needed cash. Every one of us knew we were getting ripped off by B&N. But there was nowhere else to get quick cash for a textbook. Sometimes we sold textbooks that were precious to us. B&N’s attitude was take it or leave it. Later, when they were a big bookstore chain, they enjoyed their tyranny in print book publishing, their buyers dictating to editors. I feel nothing for them.

  5. Good riddance. They are responsible for the destruction of the midlist, and many an author’s career.

  6. Imagine you’re watching a time-lapse video of a flower. The flower’s opened and now its petals are falling and the video plays on….

  7. They had a window to compete, when they could see folks wanted better pricing, faster delivery, bigger inventory–basically what shopping online at Amazon offers–but they kept thinking 20th c. Even when they had a perfectly good reader and went into ebooks, they did the support of the website poorly and the search engine sucked beyond suckage. It was not seamless, pleasant, fast. And the review feature was so clunky, even I, who was once an Amazon #169 ranked reviewer (when I reviewed a lot), didn’t want to review on B&N, and would only do so if a friend begged me. I had to cut reviews short, enter multiple times–a chore. A chore.

    B&N refused to see the writing on the 21st c wall. There were probably other things they could have done to make in-store shopping a whole new book/literary experience, but beyond that, they didn’t take on the web challenge. And you have to take on the web challenge if you’re gonna sell books in large numbers.

    When folks who used to half-live in bookstores and hated the idea of ebooks–like moi–moved online, saw the massive inventory, the useful reviews, the fast shipping, and stopped going to stores as frequently, that was the sign to change.Now, I don’t go into bookstores at all, not since 2012. It would take a really innovative store to get me in there. Shopping from my couch with my hot coffee that’s better than Starbucks’ is more my style.

    B&N had a chance. Had folks who used their stores religiously and would have given their online presence more traffic had they learned from Amazon: customer is king, searches and recommends needs to be fast and useful, and delivery of items must be quick. And don’t force folks to go into the store to get free bonus reads on the Nook. So annoying.

  8. Amazon – as pointed out by more than a few above – did not kill b&n.

    B&N committed slow, painful suicide.

  9. I rarely shop at B&N. When I do go there, it’s mostly to find a quiet place to think. Selection is very crappy, especially in the genres I like to read (i.e. true crime). When I do want to buy something, it’s usually for the wife, who rarely reads a normal book but has no probs with cookbooks.

    Out here where I live in CT, it’s dying the same slow death as Border’s did. The exact same kind of non-shoppers who hung out at Border’s for hours on end simply transplanted themselves to B&N.

  10. I went to B&N just the other day looking for cool gifts for my boys. I also picked up a print book I saw on an end cap. The clerk tried to sell me one of their preferred reader cards. I told her I only come into the store at Christmas time.

    It was kind of sad, really.

  11. I see Karma. Lots and lots of Karma.

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