The demise of Barnes & Noble

Bookseller Barnes & Noble (B&N) is in bad financial shape. According to a commentator in the Wall Street Journal, B&N fell prey to the Internet though they made some missteps on their own.

I, for one, will be sad if bookstores such as B&N and Borders go completely out of business. B&N came to the Chicago area in the 1990s and I shopped at some of the early locations. They were like a new world compared to the bookstores that existed then: relatively large, nice decor, with a varied selection. (I know some would argue this could be found at independent booksellers but I haven’t ever had much experience with these in my suburban life.) As both B&N and Borders expanded into music (a section I spent a lot of time in) and coffee, I found them even more likable locations. I still occasionally am very happy to spend an evening in one of these stores, browsing through magazines, music, and all sorts of books.

Shopping for these things on the Internet has some advantages, including the big factor of pricing. But browsing is still a qualitatively different experience than browsing a large bookstore.

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