Friday, July 22, 2011

Is Barnes & Noble Next?

On July 21, 2011, at a scheduled hearing Borders is expected to ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York to allow it to sell off all of its assets. If the judge approves the move, liquidation sales could start as soon as Friday; the company could go out of business by the end of September. Due to Borders closing all of its stores, 11,000 employees will be losing their jobs. This will have an impact on the economy as well of those families of those employees, more foreclosures, more bankruptcy filings, and more bad credit.

What does this mean for the book industry? The only two major bookstore chains left were Barnes and Noble and Borders. This is good news for Barnes and Noble but what about Borders customers. Will they honor the Borders coupons, Borders gift cards, Borders Bucks, Borders Rewards program, Borders Reward Plus? Will Borders Kobo e-reader owners be allowed to use the Barnes and Noble Nook to read their Kobo books? What happens to vendors who are owed money from Borders? These are some of the many questions that need to be answered.

Barnes and Noble has 717 stores in the United States and has 637 college bookstores. There are approximately 1300 independent bookstores in the United States. In some states there will be miles of neighborhoods without a bookstore. For those who do not have a computer or e-reader, buying books will be difficult. For those who enjoy going to a bookstore to view books before purchasing them, the buying experience will now be different.

For authors, especially self-published authors getting a booksigning will become more difficult since Barnes and Noble does not usually work with self-published authors. I was a fan of the Borders bookstore chain. Borders has more of a friendly family oriented feel. I loved the Borders policy where customers did not have to wait in line more than 20 minutes to make a purchase.

Hopefully Barnes and Noble is reviewing and analyzing Borders customers and using that to ensure former Borders customers enjoy their experience each time they visit at any Barnes and Noble store.
If you are a book lover and enjoy going to a bookstore to purchase books, browse books or attend booksignings or seminars, voice your concerns to Barnes and Noble about the type of customer experience you would like to see at Barnes and Noble. This is a critical time for Barnes and Noble and will determine if they continue to stay in business or go out of business but they need your help.

No comments: