Why Barnes & Noble is going to go out of business and I don’t mind…

Having finished the last of the books I had stock piled to read, I realized it was time to pick up some new reading material. Since I had a Barnes & Noble gift card sitting around from Christmas, I thought this was a great time to use it. I didn’t want to wait for shipping, so I ventured into the Barnes & Noble at the Prudential Center with the goal of picking up Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think and Jason Freid’s new ReWork. I thought it would be easy enough…go in, find ReWork in the business section and Krug in some type of web development/design section.  Not so much…

So after wandering all the way to the wrong side of the store, I finally found the business shelf…but couldn’t find ReWork. I stumbled across a kiosk, but despite it’s insistence the book was in the middle of the area I was in (note: the kiosk didn’t have the most up to date shelving set up…#fail), I couldn’t find ReWork.  I then figured I’d look for Don’t Make Me Think, but their web development and design sections are a mess of photography how to books and random coding languages jumbled.

I finally grabbed a B&N staff person after about 15 min of feeling like a blind man in a library and they took me to their main station.  Turns out they only give the best treatment to Jason Fried’s new book: ankle level on a special shelf halfway under a table about 2 feet from the help desk…obviously easy to find!  With ReWork in hand we then went searching for Don’t Make Me Think…unfortunately, much thinking was required as we searched the jumbled mess of web and design sections.  But alas…finally we found it.

Then I went to the check out:

Don’t Make Me Think: $40

ReWork: $22

Tax: $3.88

Total: $65.88***

Note: The cashier was kind enough to offer me the opportunity! to pay an additional $25 to become a B&N club member and save 15% on all purchases!!! What a deal! She reminded me, that I’d save $9 on my books today if I got the club membership…ignore that’s still a net extra of $14.

Now: Why Barnes & Noble is going to go out of business and I don’t mind…

If I go to Amazon.com…I can get both of those books with free shipping for: $38.50.  I can also immediately find the books by simply typing in the title or author. I can also see reviews to make sure I really want the books (luckily, both have already come strongly endorsed by my Tweeples).

So let’s see…save over 40% (much more than that awesome B&N membership!), find stuff instantly and deliver it to my doorstep? SOLD.

Sorry B&N…I’m going to use up my gift card $ and not only not come back, but ask my mom for Amazon.com gift cards next year.

25 thoughts on “Why Barnes & Noble is going to go out of business and I don’t mind…

  1. Yeah…I mean I actually enjoy going out into town in Boston to pick up things…but the difficulty in finding what I’m looking for coupled with the prices makes it completely unreasonable to go again.

    Being a “me too” competitor will always put you behind the 8 ball…you can never truly understand what your competitor was thinking if all you do is try to copy them. You need to know why you’re doing something.

  2. News to me that B&N is going out of business. I book shop at the B&N in Burlington MA as well as online. (I also order from Amazon online.)

    I can’t see being happy that a company is going out of business. Competition is essential in any sector. Amazon is huge and is generally good at what it does, but I’m not ready for it to totally mop up the market for books a la WalMart. I know–it’s already a lost cause.

    It takes a while to find your way around any brick and mortar store–the first time, anyway. Why don’t you give B&N some Steve Krug-worthy usability feedback and cut them some slack?

    • Margaret,

      I don’t think B&N is going out of business at this point, but I do think that the market is changing and that brick and mortar bookstores are not long for this world. They have an online site that I think they would be well served to devote more time to improving.

      I would never wish ill will specifically on anyone, but would you feel bad for the Horse and Carraige makers because the Model T is taking over? I feel the same in online versus bookstore purchases. Frankly, in 10-20 years, I don’t think there’ll be much demand for physical books anymore than people look for records now; it will be too easy to download to your iPad, smartphone, laptop in one thing.


      • Hey Jason. First you only save 10% on “all your purchases.” Secondly, selling those “club memberships” to people like you is what pays my bills and feeds my kids. So before you decide you “don’t mind” if B&N goes out of business, think about my hungry children. Also, think about the endless nagging and berating from customers like you that I receive on a daily basis. Have a little heart man.

  3. Almost makes me wish there were a way to easily share books across your social circle…

    Or do the library thing.

  4. It all gets down to customer service; Amazon can control the customer service side so well, improving, improving, improving. B&N relies too much on, well, humans; the people at headquarters can’t control what the people are doing in the Pru store.

    I agree…there’s little need for brick and mortar for books any more; it’s not like we need to see the book before we buy it.

  5. Agreed that Amazon is great for convenience and low prices and it really is my one-stop-shop for a lot of things. But I do want to point out that while B&N may be closing down many of its brick and mortar stores, it’s still far from going out of business. They’re actually pretty well-positioned to capitalize on the booming ebook market. Their ebookstore has over 1,000,000 ebooks– way more than their competitors can claim (Amazon has over 350,000 and Apple’s iBookstore claims “tens of thousands”). Also, this year we’re going to see a lot of new dedicated ereader devices by practically every electronics company out there looking to support Adobe ePub standards, and these ereader companies are being directed by Adobe to work with Barnes and Noble for access to ebooks. Perhaps they’re just preparing to close their B&M stores and are focusing on moving everything online. Either way, sucks that you got overcharged, but unfortunately Barnes and Noble may be sticking around for a while longer…

    • Thanks for the comment! I was merely criticizing their brick and mortar. If they can evolve to a great website for buying books, then more power to them; I just think the brick and mortar to buy books is inefficient and on its way out.

  6. You know, the B&N membership is actually a good deal, especially if you were saving $9, it would have only cost you $16 for the year. Maybe you misunderstood the discounts, but you get 40% Hardcover Bestsellers, 20% Adult Hardcovers, and 10% off everything else (paperback, cafe, DVD, music, etc.) Plus if you order online you get free express shipping and the online prices are competitive to Amazon’s so the membership would pay for itself within a few months and you would have the rest of the year to enjoy the discounts.

    I’m a employee (if I haven’t given myself away already) and I own one too. Sometimes I get better discounts from that card than I do with my employee discount.

    You had a frustrating experience and that’s unfortunate, but I hope you really don’t wish that B&N go out of business! First of all, I need my job to get me through college (and I love it), and second, surprisingly a lot of people rely of the brick and mortar store. We help so many people find titles when all they could remember about it was one word of the title, what the cover looked like, etc. That’s one of the things we have over our online competitors.

    • Honestly, I just think it’s inefficient and just like newspapers is on its way out the door. There is a generation of people used to getting the paper in the morning and when they’re gone, the industry will be changed.

      Remember when people had to go to the library to do research? Brick and mortar book stores as behemoth destinations (like your average B&N) are on their way out.


  7. I hope B&N will always be around. I guess that is all we need, another reason to stay home on or well feed over weight butts. he few times I did order from Amazon, the books came late, sometimes damaged and frankly I like being able to brows, read and compare books before buying. Buying books is not always like buying music, we may actually want to read some content before deciding. Is it not nice when you want to just go out and relax to have a place to go and read a book or magazine with a cup of coffee and get out of the house without having to always spend money.

    • Robert,

      I agree, people can develop unhealthy lifestyles if they rely on their computers and ipads all day, but I think it’s a key lifestyle choice; you can read however you like many people with or without a bookstore will still go to parks and coffee shops to read.

      I don’t see how a storefront bookstore can remain a viable business when so many people like me can go on amazon and save 42% on the price of their books. I would expect that disparity will only get wider until the stores have to close as more and more people realize this.


  8. I am not sure why people are laughing at the Nook without even understanding its strength. It is designed to read many formats while the kindle is designed to read their own. For example, you can’t read library books on the kindle so next time, please check your facts first.

    You might not care about B&N going out of business but a lot of us do since Borders and them are the only neighborhood bookstore that we have. People are fast becoming like those in Walle who are too comfortable sitting at home staring at the LCD screen. We take children to bookstore, nuturing them with the story books and human interaction. I don’t want to just give them a LCD at home.

    • Rebecca,

      I understand some people may find book browsing an enjoyable process. And yes, doing everything on your computer could lead you to becoming an overweight, unhealthy person. However, I think the key is a lifestyle choice. I often go outside and other places to read…just not at a bookstore.

      Certainly there’s something to be said for having a real book in your hands and getting to feel and easily page through the book; I read every day on the subway with real paper bound books. I just believe that bookstores are likely to become as antiquated as printing out emails seems today.


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