Chapter&Verse of Barnes&Noble - Fin

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Intro: Powerful Stasis Song in the Middle: To Run in an Elevator in a Dream in A Fiction in Space Pizzicato Orchestral Roll 1

A little touch of modern brings the old modern screeching to a question mark…

Remember when Barnes and Noble was threatening everything we loved about bookstores? I do. It was the new way of things; the big retailer, the new threat. Now Barnes and Noble is struggling to stay relevant in the new way of things; the online retailer, the new instant-gratification model. Not only were the signs everywhere for Barnes and Noble to modernize yet again, but a second set of signs exist that suggest changes the bookseller could still make in order to continue staying relevant if they bother to try.

It’s pretty amazing how short a collective memory can be – just twenty years ago Barnes and Noble swept in across the nation and put thousands of little book merchants out of business and that hurt everyone’s feelings too.

The book landscape wasn’t a patchwork quilt anymore of ma and pop shops. It was the vanguard for most of us seeing BIG RETAIL up close for the first time and all the new business model had ‘in store.’

Coffee shops in destinations were normalized, wi-fi zombies became a thing, and the interior decorations and safety of the destination made B&N a hip place after a while to hang out and it hung on. Now, it’s under attack and loads of folks are crying for B&N. I’m not.

I wish I could remain impartial but why? B&N changed everything we loved about our old bookstores and replaced it with brainwashing, not something better. Thanks to online retailers, B&N’s domineering hold on what publishers are willing to do and what consumers are expecting to see is weakening. Publishers have to remember how to share with small booksellers again. Customers have to remember that a book that’s more than two months old can STILL BE ON SHELVES!

The book hunt was never out of style and what’s helping with keeping analog copies of things around? An unexpected trend of Bookstagrams – picture accounts of book covers and their beautiful art coordinated with equally attractive props and settings online! It’s a crazy round-and-round and to give some credit to B&N, the have a magnificent online catalog of staff and editorial sci-fi-fantasy picks I utterly forgot to mention in the episode.

The weekly catalog is a fantastic go-to just like the old monthly sci fi and fantasy catalogs (one of which seeded this episode). The catalog’s inclusion and shrinking physically and snapping up storage space for more warehouse delivery fulfillment is exactly what Barnes and Noble needs to do immediately to keep its story going. If it doesn’t, there are thousands of ma and pop bookshops ready to rush in to the big, retail void that would be left behind.

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