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Barnes & Noble to Move to Clear Plastic Bags

I had lunch with Nicole yesterday and like good bibliophiles, we stopped at Barnes and Noble. Nicole bought a book, Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews and I bought one, Compromised by Kate Noble.

Both our packages were put in clear plastic bags. Is this the future of Barnes and Noble packaging because that might affect how many people continue to buy books at the bookstore?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Tracy
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 08:50:47

    At least you got a bag. I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in bookstores (Borders seems to be the worst offender of late) to not automatically bag purchases. “Do you need a bag?” Why yes, I do. I’ve even had to ask for a bag, especially when getting only one or two books, because it wasn’t even offered.

  2. janicu
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 09:28:24

    Damn, that’s what I get for preordering Magic Burns. Have to WAIT for it to get here, not get it in the store, days before the release. *SIGHH*.

    Yes clear bags, now people can see what I bought! But I have a huge giant purse and I dump my book purchases into so I guess for me it’s a non-issue really.

  3. Anna
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 10:00:36

    Tracy – I have say I’m glad they’ve started to ask if I want a bag. I’m determined to use as FEW plastic bags as possible this year. I’ve had to tell a cashier several times that I don’t want a bag. I know it’s part of their routine, so I understand. And several of them thank me for not using a bag and mention how they usually ask now. I think it’s part of the growing “green” awareness, so I’m personally glad when somebody asks me if I want a bag, esp. if I only have one or two books.

    Personally, the clear bag issue is non-issue for me.

  4. Caro Kinkead
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 10:44:08

    My local B&N uses clear bags in the DVD/Music section and the green bags up front with the book. Don’t know why, but never paid much attention to it.

  5. asrai
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 10:59:25

    Bring a reusable cloth bag from home and then whatever type of bag they are using becomes a non-issue.

  6. Ann Bruce
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 11:13:57

    Unless I’m buying an armload of books and don’t have my backpack, I don’t want a bag. It seems like a waste to use a bag for one or two books because even though I’ll recycle the bag, recycling still uses up non-renewable resources.

  7. Tracy
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 11:15:54

    Anna – Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the environment and green initiatives. I often carry my messenger bag around because I collect things without bags at the mall, bookstore, etc. But the no bag thing has been carried too far at times. Sometimes I need the bag, even with the messenger bag, because it’s full. The last time I was in Borders, I got asked if I wanted a bag after buying a stack of 7 (!) books. Even with an almost-empty messenger bag, that’s a tough fit. So a bag is nice, especially since I reuse them to death anyway.

    As to the clear/see through bag, I don’t really have a problem with people seeing what I get — they can see that as I walk around the store. Who really looks? Maybe it’s for security or a shoplifting deterrent thing.

  8. Kcfla
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 11:33:21

    Tracy, the clear bags are indeed being used to deter shoplifting. There are alot of retailers out there that are concidering using them.
    ( Sorry, my 25 years in retail is showing lol!)

  9. Keishon
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 18:12:45

    Clear bags hasn’t hit here, yet. I’ll let you know if they do. I find it amusing and quite interesting that you all have to ask for a bag. I’ve never had to experience that at a major bookstore. Used bookstores, yeah, but a major bookstore? Nope. They must be really hurting.

  10. Miki
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 21:09:34

    Anna said:

    I have say I'm glad they've started to ask if I want a bag. I'm determined to use as FEW plastic bags as possible this year. I've had to tell a cashier several times that I don't want a bag.

    asrai said:

    Bring a reusable cloth bag from home and then whatever type of bag they are using becomes a non-issue.

    What drives me crazy is when I show them my cloth bag and they still pull out a plastic bag. When I remind them I have the cloth bag, they load my books into it, but–four out of five times–they then throw the plastic bag away!

    Regarding the clear plastic bags, I won’t buy the books with really embarrassing covers in brick-and-mortar bookstores. I buy those online. And put a cloth cover on them when I read them, too.

  11. Kristie(J)
    Mar 29, 2008 @ 05:34:11

    Here at Chapters they’ve started asking too. I don’t mind – if I have a lot I’ll say yes, if just a few, I’ll put them/it in my purse.

  12. vanessa jaye
    Mar 29, 2008 @ 08:44:12

    I figured asking if you wanted a bag had to do with ‘greening’ also. Not a big deal. And my first thought about the clear plastic was it was a deterrant for shoplifting.

  13. Sarah Frantz
    Mar 29, 2008 @ 13:37:52

    The clear bags in the music/DVD dept. bug me no end, because I buy presents there more than anything else, and I’m usually with the person for whom I am buying the present. So having a clear bag is a problem, because it reveals the present! Other than that, I’d prefer they ask, personally.

  14. JulieLeto
    Mar 29, 2008 @ 17:53:40

    I never want a bag from the bookstore. I’m parked out front and the bag will just get thrown away at home anyway. I’m glad they ask, but I normally stop them before they bag to say, “I don’t need a bag, thank you.”

    Clear seems like a good idea, though, because of shoplifting.

  15. Nicole
    Mar 31, 2008 @ 11:01:41

    More places are trying to go green, so ask for bags. I know where I work (Half Price Books) we ask because if the person doesn’t use a bag or reuses a bag, we donate to I know I’ve been trying to use less plastic bags.

    Jane, I ended up going back to BN. Got a mag that had a Heather Bailey article in it and Poison Sleep by T.A. Pratt. I’d forgotten that PS was out as I enjoyed reading Blood Engines, the first book in the series.

  16. Jon
    Jul 05, 2008 @ 13:33:16

    Clear bags are a new homeland security requirement in the US. They allow the cameras to see what you walk out of the store with. I’m just joking, or at least joking as far as I know, who knows these days.

    Personally I too fall into the group of preferring the assumption that I do NOT want a bag and that they ask before bagging my purchases. It’s rare I would be buying a gift while the recipeient was with me in the store, but if I was I’d ask if they had anything to wrap the book in before putting it in the bag. What I find funny about that however is that is how pornography use to be sold, before my time and I doubt many would make that association, but once upon a time brown paper wraped books/magazines suggested something different.

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