Thursday, October 04, 2018

I come not to praise Barnes and Noble

In the current business climate small independent books stores are doing quite well.  This may be in part because Borders (as was) and Barnes and Noble stamped out any bookstores that weren't extremely robust, and a few that were.

So why is Barnes and Noble now doing so badly?  My guess would be appallingly bad management.  Their stores are often too large.  Their foray into e-readers was inept and they stuck at it for too long.  They tried to spin off educational products (Ticker: BNED) with lackluster results.

At this point in time someone starting from scratch might be far more capable to creating a book store chain in areas with good foot traffic, that actually contains mostly books, targeted to the needs and interests of the local community.

So who on earth is going to be interested in purchasing B&N, as they seem to want?  You buy a 'Sears of Books' brand, a few great stores, a bunch of terrible ones, and a long history of not understanding how to sell books.  (With management coming -- not coincidentally -- from other industries).

For the industry as a whole, in the long run it might be better if they collapsed quickly and something better had a chance to spring up in their place.  And, no, I don't think it will be Amazon.

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