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BN Expects Terrible Holiday Season

Barnes & Noble chairman sent a memo to all employees saying that "the retail environment the worst he has ever seen as a bookseller."  The outlook looks gloomy for chairman Riggio for this holiday season which he describes as "terrible" and expects "the trend to continue well into 2009, and perhaps beyond.”

Wall Street Journal via Publishers Weekly .

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. Randi
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 09:58:25

  2. The BookWhore » Blog Archive » Barnes & Noble Has Eeyore-Like Outlook On Christmas Season
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 12:37:29

    […] to Dear Author for the […]

  3. Hesed Books
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 12:55:08

    I have a friend who works for BandN and she said the same thing. However, I tend to agree with Randi: this is the time where we should all be looking for new and creative ways to bring in business. If the current business model isn’t working, we need to do our best to rise above.

    I’m not saying that in any way to minimize the seriousness of the situation… we’ve all been hit economically in one way or another, but I do believe that this is a country that can dust itself off and stabalize once again.

  4. Ann-Kat
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 10:08:49

    While people are tightening their belts, I do feel that things will eventually right itself. Economy is cyclical. This just happens to be a bit worse than we’re used to all around, but it doesn’t mean it will last.

    All BN needs to do, simply, is learn to adapt to the changing market. Not to get all Darwinian, but it’s survival of the most able to adapt.

  5. Marsha
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 10:25:08

    I wonder how Mr. Riggio is planning to respond to the environment he sees. He could work on making shopping at B&N more pleasant (less crowding of tables around the checkout area, for example, or making sure that the information desk is actually staffed, that personnel have at least a cursory knowledge of the inventory…I could go on) and perhaps tempt me back into the store. Maybe they could focus less on music (another troubled industry) and doodads and more on books – I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone to B&N to buy a classic book as a gift and it wasn’t available. I can get any number of little poetry magnets or “boyfriend in a box” things or sushi kits, but I can’t get a Book of Common Prayer or The Narnia Chronicles in hardcover?

    I’ve become impatient with companies who lay the blame for declining fortunes solely at the feet of the economy without paying attention to how well they perform at their core business*. While it’s true that most of us are becoming more selective about how we spend our money, money is *still* being spent – even on books – and we’ve got ever more choices of where to spend it. I could choose to spend my book money at Barnes and Noble if the company worked to reduce the hassle and disappointment I feel whenever I try to do so.

    * A restaurant owner recently tried to explain why the hostess ignored my family for 20 minutes by saying “the economy is really rough right now” and he couldn’t afford to train his staff. We ate elsewhere.

  6. Randi
    Nov 07, 2008 @ 09:23:29


    Good points, all of them. I don’t have those problems at my B&N, but rather my local Borders. None the less, customer service, GREAT customer service, retains clients.

    Re: all those doodads; that’s where bookstores make their profit. The margin on books is so slim, that it’s a wash. However, stores can sell a .30$ bookmark for $5 and that’s a HUGE profit margin. So..I don’t blame them for selling all that stuff-it’s how they can support selling all those books. ;)

    What I have noticed is that B&N has eased up on their coupons. I used to get a coupon emailed to me from B&N about once a week. Borders emails me something every other day or so, but I can go three weeks without a B&N coupon. Frankly, I’m gonna go where I get the coupon.

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