B&N Third Quarter: Sales Drop 5.3%; Net Loss of $63.5M

1 March 2018

From Shelf Awareness:

In the third quarter ended January 27, total sales at Barnes & Noble fell 5.3%, to $1.2 billion, and the consolidated net loss was $63.5 million, compared to net earnings of $70.3 million in the same period a year earlier.

In the quarter, sales at stores open at least a year fell 5.8% “primarily due to lower traffic.” The company noted that in January, comp-store sales fell 3.5%, a slight improvement.

“While we were disappointed with our holiday sales, comparable store sales trends did improve in January,” said B&N CEO Demos Parneros. “We have initiated a strategic turnaround plan that is centered on growing the business and enhancing shareholder value. In the short term, we are focused on stabilizing sales, improving productivity and reducing expenses. Achievement of our longer-term goals requires a significant multi-year transformation. We expect our plan to provide consistent improvement beginning in fiscal 2019 and beyond.”

Last month, B&N began what it called “a companywide expense reduction plan,” which included the layoffs of an undisclosed number of booksellers.

Link to the rest at Shelf Awareness

PG notes a history of failures in BN’s turnaround plans. He has previously posted about Barnes & Noble’s recent extensive layoffs.

As PG has written before, he’s sorry when anybody loses their job and mass layoffs are the most effective way he knows for a company to lose its best employees.

Revolving door top management with the new CEO knowing less about the book business than the old CEO are an indication for PG of a company that doesn’t know what to do.

Leonard S. Riggio, the chairman and largest shareholder, who bought the company in 1971 (and still makes the biggest decisions), had a good run for a while, notably pricing a lot of smaller bookstores out of business, but, like many people, has never figured out how to compete with Amazon.

A well-known quote about bankruptcy from Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises comes to mind:

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.

“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

“What brought it on?”

“Friends,” said Mike. “I had a lot of friends. False friends. Then I had creditors, too. Probably had more creditors than anybody in England.”

For many years Barnes & Noble was the terror of the book industry, driving countless small bookstores out of business through aggressive price-cutting (see You’ve Got Mail), so its current financial quandary has more than a little of “What goes around, comes around” playing in the background.

As Amazon grew and the second largest bookstore chain, Borders, suddenly collapsed, Barnes & Noble was cast as the savior of the traditional book business, the only power that could support high-priced printed books and beat back Amazon, the scourge of Big Publishing (and the friend of readers who didn’t live in Manhattan with low prices and a wide variety of books which could electronically appear in Cut Bank, Montana, faster than they could be physically purchased at any Barnes & Noble store, even if you skipped the tchotchkes in the checkout line).

Times changed, Barnes & Noble didn’t. PG isn’t the only one who knows the end of that story.

Barnes & Noble drops after soft quarter

1 March 2018

From Seeking Alpha:

Barnes & Noble trades below its 52-week low after FQ3 results limp in.

Comparable store sales fell 5.8% for the quarter due to low traffic. Comparable store sales trends did improve in January, only falling off 3.5%.

The company recorded an EBITDA loss of $6.63M during the quarter. This quarter it was the retail business posting a loss and the Nook business poking out an EBITDA gain of $1.62M.

Link to the rest at Seeking Alpha

The 15 Most Memorable On-Screen Bookstores

26 February 2018
Comments Off on The 15 Most Memorable On-Screen Bookstores

From BuzzFeed:

With books and comics drumming up big business on both the small and silver screens, it’s no surprise that Hollywood execs find themselves spending a lot of time in bookstores. And when those bookstores find their way onto celluloid? Pure bibliophile perfection.

. . . .

12. No need to fear in Vertigo‘s classic bookshop


Even the boys (formerly) in blue need a hand, now and then. Retired policeman John “Scottie” Ferguson (James Stewart) is brought back into the game when he is hired as a private detective, tasked with following his client’s wife, whose strange behaviour has not gone unnoticed. In the course of his investigation, he is referred to the Argosy Book Shop, where the proprietor is known for his mastery of California history, and is able to provide Ferguson with intel that shines light on the case. Just another friendly neighbourhood bookseller saving the day.

Notable for: non-book inventory, table display mastery, insider info

Want to go to there?: The Argosy lives! While much of Vertigo was shot on-location in San Francisco, the bookstore was filmed on the Paramount lot in Hollywood. You can, however, seek out the shop it was based on, San Francisco’s Argonaut Book Shop. The antiquarian and second-hand shop specializes in American history & geography (with a delightful interest in “railroadiana”). Or: shop online!

Here’s a link to Vertigo

. . . .

6. Antiquarian’s never been better than at 84 Charing Cross Road


Based on a play that itself is based on a memoir documenting a 20-year correspondence between writer Helene Hanff and the staff of Marks & Co. antiquarian booksellers, located at 84 Charing Cross Road in London, movies can’t get more bookish than this* real-life story of an enduring love… for books. Come for the transatlantic pen pal letters and capitalistic exchange, stay for the wartime intrigue and bookstore fly-on-the-wall gossip!

Notable for: stiff English upper lips, casual Yankee spitfires, excellent penmanship

Want to go to there?: Though Marks & Co. closed up shop in 1970, shortly after the death of primary Hanff correspondent Frank Doel, there are many opportunities for a touring booklover to revisit its history. After its closure, neighbouring address 24 Cambridge Circus was expanded into the storefront Marks & Co. initially occupied, and the London theatre-district address has since played host to a revolving set of restaurants and bars over the years, currently Léon de Bruxelles. Present-day visitors to the site are treated to a memorial plaque honouring the shop, but literary travelers may want to may homage to the indie bookselling spirit of the neighbourhood by visiting nearby bookseller Book Ends, which once occupied nerby storefronts on Charing Cross Road and is currently a quick 15-minute tube ride from 24 Cambridge Circus.

Here’s a link to 84 Charing Cross Road

. . . .

3. Gilmore Girls‘ Stars Hollow Books

Ah, Stars Hollow Books, the small-town bookshop where Rory Gilmore held a brief part-time job. The importance of this brief period of employment cannot be understated: this fictional bookshop was frequented by one of the most prolific readers ever to appear on television. Rory Gilmore racked up an astonishing 339 titles on her reading list over the duration of the series. Daria’s got nothing on you, girl.

Here’s a link to Gilmore Girls

Link to the rest at BuzzFeed

Bookstore Sales Fell 3.6% in 2017

15 February 2018

From Publishers Weekly:

A slump in the second half of 2017 led a decline in bookstore sales in 2017 compared to 2016. According to preliminary estimates released Wednesday morning by the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstore sales dropped 3.6% last year compared to 2016. Sales in 2017 were $10.73 billion, down from $11.14 billion in 2016.

After rising in the first part of 2017 over 2016, bookstore sales ended 2017 on a five-month losing streak, capped by a very soft December. Sales in the last month of 2017 were $1.18 billion compared to $1.29 billion in December 2016. The weak end to 2017 mirrors to some degree the experience of Barnes & Noble which reported a 6.4% decline in sales in the nine week period ended December 31, 2107 compared to the same period a year ago.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

Barnes & Noble Inc. Layoffs

14 February 2018

Following up on yesterday’s post and comments about company-wide layoffs tied to the job titles of some senior store employees at Barnes & Noble, the following is from the Barnes & Noble section of a website called The Layoff, which has received quite a few comments from Barnes & Noble store employees.

RM is Receiving Manager. The latest Barnes & Noble layoffs were, at least in part, based on job titles. It appears that all store RM’s were fired. The RM was the person responsible for opening all the cases of books each day, sorting them, getting them on the shelves and helping with return shipments of unsold books back to publishers. According to Glass Door, Barnes & Noble receiving managers make an average of $15 per hour.

Here are a few Barnes & Noble employee comments from the last 24 hours:

Our store made 8.3 million last year, on par to do it this year as well, and we still lost our RM. we had been told that stores above a certain threshold would have RMs stay, but not be replaced if they were to leave, but today we were told he had to be let go too.

. . . .

Why get rid of the best?

We have lost probably three of the best workers at our store. I know it will not be long to start feeling their absence, simply because they were the driving force behind so many things here.

What was B&N’s thinking on this? Why not target unproductive employees instead of positions?

Talk about digging your own grave.

. . . .

My thoughts…and good luck

I was one of the long tenured RM’s let go. Even taking in consideration the health of the company it was still a shock. I was more worried about the store eventually closing than being fired. A lot of talented, dedicated employees lost their jobs without notice, explanation, or offers to stay on in another capacity. The company decided to eliminate positions across the board instead of looking at each individual store, which is sad since different stores have different issues. I know that there a many former employees like me who worked had and were doing other jobs in addition of their own to help the store and make up for a lack of hours, and none of this was factored into the decision. We were let go even though in many cases we had many more years under our belt than those who remained, just because we held one of the positions deemed not vital. This after many assurances that “We are in good shape” over the past few years after every new bit of bad news.

Try not to blame the SM’s and other management left behind, they didn’t want to fire anyone. There job is now harder. Yes, we would all like to be working in that environment instead of being unemployed, but they are not living the high life either. Maybe your manager could have handled it better, but I believe most were very unhappy about having to do this. This situation was handled poorly, but that is all on corporate. I don’t think we’ll be getting a phone call from the powers that be saying how sorry they are all anytime soon. Good look to all in finding a new position. I know I’ll be looking for the first time in awhile in an area that doesn’t have much to offer. Hopefully our anger and frustration will subside soon.

. . . .

15+ years of loyal, dedicated service … POOF!

Just bought a new(er) car so my husband could safely travel back and forth to work, the day after, he showed up for work, was told “Sorry!” and ESCORTED out of the building, all so part-timers can sell cheap gee-gaws and doo-dads. FIFTEEN+ years of loyal, dedicated service and this is how Barnes and Noble treats its long-term hard-working employees? I’m on Social Security and what little he brought in kept us afloat. I’m going to enjoy watching them tank, if we don’t starve to death first, that is…

. . . .

Heartless Company

Shame on BN for letting go of an employee while they were on medical leave for heart surgery! A company that is truly HEARTLESS!!!! Over 30 yrs of service doesn’t mean a thing!

. . . .

Core Values?

Working 10+ years for the company I’ve seen how loyal the employees are. How do the upper management think this is going to help morale, let alone keep up the great customer service when every employee feels a target on their back. Talk about a hostile work environment.

Link to the rest at The Layoff

B&N to Save $40 Million Following New Layoffs

13 February 2018

From Publishers Weekly:

After posting disappointing holiday results, Barnes & Noble instituted a round of layoffs yesterday that it says will save the company $40 million annually. After CNBC reported Monday that the retailer fired “lead cashiers and digital leads,” a B&N spokesperson confirmed the layoffs, but declined to give the size of the cuts or what departments were affected. However, in a filing Tuesday with the SEC, B&N reported that it will take an $11 million charge in its third quarter to account for severance payments.

The filing further noted that B&N expects to complete the staff reductions by February 16 of this year.

. . . .

B&N described the cuts as “a new labor model for its stores that has resulted in the elimination of certain store positions. The new model will allow stores to adjust staff up or down based on the needs of the business, increase store productivity and streamline store operations.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

PG suggests that “We’re firing our way to success!” is a long-standing management strategy with a rich history of failure.

AR is the Future of Bookselling

9 February 2018

From Good EReader:

Augmented reality is the hot new trend and many developers are focusing on the gaming aspect. I think with the advent of the new Intel Vaunt and similar products, AR will not only be the future of shopping, but bookselling.

. . . .

They’re just regular old prescription or non-prescription glasses you would wear during the day and charge at night. There’s not a computer attached to your head or some weird bulky attachment to your existing glasses. They pair with your smartphone, which will keep costs low. Intel has stated that they are not going to market the glasses directly to consumers, but will partner with a firm to bring them to market, likely Amazon.

. . . .

I think the future of shopping in bookstores will be with AR glasses. When you walk into your average bookshop such as Amazon Books, Barnes and Noble or Indigo Books and Music there are precious few books that are front facing and the rest are stacked side by side. How do you know if a book is new, old, or highly rated?  I can imagine a day when your glasses will customized features for bookstore shopping, such as reviews that float over a book with the GoodReads API framework and clicking on a virtual review will give you everything you need to know.

Link to the rest at Good EReader

PG wonders whether anyone will be physically walking in to a structure at a fixed location with AR glasses. He bets Amazon (or a future Amazon competitor) will have incredible virtual bookstores you can walk through wherever you are with your AR glasses (or AR helmet or AR bodysuit). Alexa will probably be walking around Amazon’s AR bookstore, too, reminding people that their timers have expired.

Indigo Reports Its Highest Quarter Revenue Ever

7 February 2018

From Publishers Weekly:

Indigo Books & Music had a solid third quarter, with revenue up 8.2% over the comparable period in 2016. Net income in the quarter, ended December 30, 2017, increased 6.5%. Sales in the period were C$433.3 million, while earnings hit C$42.6 million. Indigo noted its sales in the quarter were the highest quarterly revenue in its history.

The Canadian chain attributed the sales gain to double-digit growth in its general merchandise category, as well as strong online sales. Overall same store sales were up 7.9% led by a 26.4% increase of online sales with comp store sales up 4.9% in Indigo’s superstores and 2.3% in its smaller format stores. Sales of books increased over last year’s comparable period, but the company did not say by how much.

. . . .

The priority in Canada is to continue to remodel more of its superstores to become what the company calls “cultural department stores for book lovers.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

An Upbeat Winter Institute—With Some Caveats

31 January 2018

From Publishers Weekly:

Winter Institute, which American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher has called “some of the most significant few days in our calendar,” drew 1,000 attendees to Memphis the week of January 22, including more than 680 booksellers from all 50 states.

. . . .

“For more than five years now, our channel has seen sustained growth—the result of your clear focus on ongoing professional development, tireless work, and continued entrepreneurial innovation,” Teicher told booksellers. He acknowledged that some stores continue to face challenges, particularly as retail dollars continue to shift online. But he assured booksellers, “Our advocacy on your behalf regarding a level playing field will continue as a major priority for 2018.”

. . . .

In addition to working for a playing field on which physical and online stores are treated equally, other bookseller priorities emerged over the course of the conference’s four days—among them the need for diversity in the book business. As Hannah Oliver Depp of Word Books in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Jersey City, N.J., a member of the ABA Task Force on Diversity, noted, “We’ve made a lot of progress, and we have a lot further to go.”

Keynoter Junot Díaz also pushed booksellers to do more for diverse books. In a powerful address, which he titled “In the Time of the Wolf and Fox I Dream of Books” (the “wolf” being conservative whites and the “fox” liberals), he elicited many tears and a standing ovation. Díaz criticized the book industry for being a business in which predominantly white gatekeepers publish predominantly white authors. It’s imperative, he said, for booksellers and librarians, who are on the front lines, to “stop talking about diversity and start decolonizing our shelves.” On behalf of the next generation, he called for “new stories where every single one of us can find ourselves.”

Amazon’s growing dominance in many aspects of our lives, not just books, was also a significant concern. For Kenny Brechner of Devaney, Doak and Garrett in Farmington, Maine, one of the most threatening aspects of that dominance is the erosion of list price. “One thing I hear is, ‘What are you charging for this book?’ ” he said. “We’re in a competing narrative with Amazon. There’s a narrative we need to share. The antitrust laws are just paper, or whatever, without the will to do something about it.”

. . . .

Booksellers should be able to pay their staff a living wage and not have to work long hours or take a second job to do so, she said. “I know publishers that make good profits,” she added. “It would be nice if they could give us an extra percentage.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

Discover Barnes & Noble Press

25 January 2018

PG suspects he’s not the only one to receive the announcement of the new Barnes & Noble online publishing offering, but here’s an excerpt.

From Barnes & Noble:

Check Out What’s New

  • Improved user experience and new visual design
  • Rebrand to Barnes & Noble Press to reflect our close alignment with Barnes & Noble retail stores
  • Sign in to a single website to create and manage print and eBooks all in one place
  • 12 month pre-order capability for all authors for all eBooks
  • Increased royalty rate of 65% for eBooks priced $10.00+
  • Additional print book trim sizes, glossy covers and color printing options now available
  • Combine different personal print book orders in a single checkout order
  • Discounting on the first 10 personal copies ordered of each print book title
  • Different formats of the same book title are grouped together for easy project managing, metadata cloned from one project format to the next
  • Author Tools & Tips page complete with trusted 3rd party partner offers
  • Build-a-Book user experience enhancements
  • Select subject categories for your print and eBook that more closely match those on

Coming Soon

  • All new sales reporting
  • Schedule future eBook price changes
  • Additional 3rd party partnerships

Link to the rest at Barnes & Noble

« Previous PageNext Page »