Categories: Bookstores

Reading Between the Headlines

From author Jen Talty via Write on the River:

Barnes & Nobles current financial situation is something to be concerned about in publishing, even for those who earn the majority of their income from eBooks. This situation is not Indie VS Trad or eBook VS Print. This is an industry wide situation that affects all of us, but in different ways. So as business people in the publishing industry we need to plan for what our business will look like in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, but just as important: what does that mean for YOUR career.

Nook is costing B&N money, which is bringing down any profit they might earn to try to turn their bottom line around. They spun off their college bookstore unit. They’ve had 4 CEO’s in five years. Stocks are in the red. Not looking too good for Barnes & Noble right now. Yet I was in a quite large B&N a couple of weeks ago with my son where we spent over 100$ on books. Probably the first purchase I made in that store both physical and on-line in 3 years. Not because I’m not a fan, but because I don’t like to shop. I’m also an early adopter of technology, so I’ve been reading eBooks since before the Kindle came out on a Sony eReader. I guess that’s the Betamax of eReaders?

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So what is an author to do? Our suggestion? First, take the emotion out of it and remember this is your livelihood. Next, understand what you control and what you don’t control. We don’t control what is happening to B&N. We do control our own business strategy. With that in mind what happens to you as an author if Nook goes away or if B&N goes under? Will your publisher be able to get you racked in WalMart? Costco? Target? Who, by the way, all have less shelf space dedicated to books. The only books I see there are those of authors who have recently passed or those on the top 20 of the New York Times and a couple of lines from Harlequin (but not all of them). My Target just expanded to carry groceries (big mistake if you ask me since we’re in the heartland of Wegmans) but in doing so, they took space from other departments because they didn’t expand their square footage. Wegmans used to have entire half row dedicated to books. Now it’s half that size.

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Barnes and Noble is being crippled in a way by its own uniqueness and its inability to adapt. B&N helped put many a bookstore out of business, but it wasn’t the only entity that did that. Changes in technology. Changes in consumer buying habits. They all helped. Just like Blockbuster knocked out all my local small video rentals. Then Netflix knocked them out, now we have a wide variety of digital downloads and streaming. Welcome to the changing world of technology.

Link to the rest at Write on the River and thanks to Nan and others for the tip.

Here’s a link to Jen Talty’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

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