It’s the End of B&N As We Know It


Oh Barnes and Noble…I keep saying you aren’t Borders, and then you go and stock crock pots for the holidays.

Cooking appliances. In a bookstore. Not even near the cookbooks, just chilling near bargain titles. Why? Did the NOOK line open the floodgates? Are you morphing into Target by carrying appliances while Target morphs into a bookstore with their expanded book sections? Is it bizarro land?

I just hope this isn’t B&N’s sparkly Jesus piggy bank. A few years ago, Borders sold sparkly, Jesus shaped piggy banks. Then they went out of business. Coincidence? I think not.

Please stick to selling books, B&N. Nobody walks into their local store and thinks “Whoo hoo, I can get a calendar, a gift card, and an appliance to slow cook tender meats.” No one wanted sparkly piggy banks either, and we all know how that story ended.

Categories: News


4 replies

  1. Then why Amazon started selling something other than books way back then

    • Amazon stopped being a bookstore long ago. They are an all purpose online general store with a book focus.
      B&N, in it’s overall goal and merchandising is mainly a bookstore. They stretch it a bit with greeting cards and other sidelines, but they basically cut way back on media to focus on books and tie in toys… It is still a huge conceptual leap to go from “bookstore” to “crockpot”. Especially since for B&N that’s valuable space that could be holding books or something more directly related to their core business. Using it to randomly hold appliances smacks of “ship everything and see what sells” which is a really terrible idea.

      • I agree, Carly.  For me it is all about context: Amazon is a ‘mega mall’, and their core strength is that online, customer-centric interaction.  If they went into local organic farming that would be a big issue, but from shipping physical DVD’s to streaming movies is much less of a leap.

        BN is a bookstore, period.  That is their core.  The leap to digital ebooks makes perfect sense.  But it is always fair to look and say ‘what other things would our customers look for in our stores that belong with books?’  It is about organic growth: book browsers like magazines – easy.  They will also tend to like browsing physical CDs – again easy (so long as your store is big enough).  Having a coffee & snack shop to keep people in stores longer?  Great plan.  Add some trifles like cards, journals, board games, calendars and so on?  They all work in the book-lover context.

        But to jump from there to … small appliances?  Not seeing it – what comes next?  Wooden spoons, garlic powder and a meat freezer?