Barnes and Noble: Stealing from the Businesses it Shut Down

Barnes and Noble: Stealing from the Businesses it Shut Down

Hana Hasanovic, Writer

Barnes and Noble recently announced new strategies to increase sales. These are the same strategies used by stores they put out of business nearly two decades ago.  

When Barnes and Noble widely re-launched in 1993, the book chain adopted a supermarket look, contributing to its success. The goal was to pack stores with a large amount of books at a lower price, leading the company to opt for the same shelves and furniture in all its locations. This strategy allowed Barnes and Noble to sell books to customers at lower prices.

This approach was successful, resulting in the shutdowns of its competitors, independent bookstores. However, with the popularity of online seller Amazon, Barnes and Noble is getting a taste of its own medicine.

Amazon is currently the largest book retailer in the world, offering a broader book selection at lower prices. Amazon’s domination in book retail has caused Barnes and Noble’s revenue to decline consistently since 2012. 

This significant decline has recently forced Barnes and Noble CEO, James Daunt, to take initiative to save the company by letting locations run as independent bookstores. Unlike chain bookstores, local businesses can tailor their set-up and book choices based on the local community. Daunt believes that this approach will incentivize people to experience in-person bookstores again. 

Some locations have already adopted this new strategy by moving into smaller spaces and organizing the store like a maze instead of the staple supermarket look. Stores have also taken advantage of tailoring books by setting up displays that align with the community’s interests. 

The company expects this strategy to increase the popularity of the book chain again and get people out of online catalogs and back into stores. Despite Barnes and Noble’s efforts, skepticism of the strategy remains. Is Barnes and Noble’s new in-person experience enough for consumers to give up online book retailers?