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How long before B & N stores are no more?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / January 30, 2012 8:59 AM PST

Read this blog for some context to this poll: Can Barnes & Noble save the bookstore?

How long do you think before Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar stores are no more?

-- By the end of this year. (Really? Why do you think so?)
-- 1 to 3 years. (How so?)
-- 4 to 7 years. (How so?)
-- 8+ years. (That long?)

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How long before Barnes & Noble stores are no more
by slhm / January 31, 2012 1:36 AM PST

As a person who sits on a library board, I believe there will always be a need for physical places to find books. Places like Barnes & Noble do need to learn to help people learn that their stores are more than just repositories fo hard cover books. There is something rewarding about having a book in your hands. Even Star Trek (STNG) addressed that with Picard having a few hard cover books in his quarters.

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How true
by Crash2100 / January 31, 2012 1:41 AM PST

Being a network administrator who basically sits in front of the computer all day, I have never understood why someone would want to basically look at a screen to read a book. When I have something longer than a page to read, I print it out. The paper is still easier on your eyes.

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Barns & Noble
by WAArnold / January 31, 2012 2:40 AM PST
In reply to: How true

How true Crash2100.

I too sit long hours in front of a monitor. As for reading an electronic book, they have their advantages, assuming they have a search feature. If not, I'd rather have the hard/paper back book in-hand. I have quite a few books from my childhood, 76 years, that I can still pull out and read anytime I wish. I do not believe the electronic readers/books will be operational that long. A good search feature makes it handy to find a passage you want whereas you would have to manually search, or remember, for the passage.

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Book shops and their viability to remain operating
by colo39 / January 31, 2012 9:13 AM PST

Reference books will remain in hard cover predominately, but novels will be electronically delivered. Law books will be both hard cover and electronic to make research quicker and easier. Classic novels will still be in hard cover. .
Col O

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Brick and Mortar book stores
by cvacinc93 / January 31, 2012 1:40 AM PST

There will always be brick and mortar book stores, although mega-stores like B&N will probably meet their demise in the next few years..Many of us still enjoy the feel of a good book, eschewing the hard plastic for the soft cover. I can't imagine laying in bed at night with a bright Nook, rather than a good book. Nor, would I ever take a a Kindle to "the library" during my morning ritual.

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I think it will take longer.
by Cjfulbright / January 31, 2012 1:42 AM PST

Personally, I love walking into a bookstore, to smell the books, knowing that I will be leaving with a great book to read .
I love to browse the books and read excepts and decide what I'll read next. Plus the stores with internet access, and coffee, and something to eat encourages me to sit and just enjoy the atmosphere of the bookstore<div><div>So personally I feel it will take a bit longer before all the Book stores will close for good.
I own an Nook Color reader, which I love, and I've read more lately just because I won i,t and can shop for books anytime I want to for new material.

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This is life
by mkogan / January 31, 2012 2:00 AM PST

IMHO E-reader is the way to go for following reasons
1. They are as easy on the eyes as average quality paper (judging by my kindle)
2. They consume much less resources (trees, manufacturing costs, transportation, etc...)
3. Space (how much room does e-reader take)
4. Convenience (I have dictionary at my fingertips whenever/wherever I read).
Some may regret seeing paper go... Paper is just media ... How many places sell LPs, VHS cassetes? How many people miss parchment?

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1 to 3 years
by VAMtns / January 31, 2012 2:02 AM PST

I too hope brick and mortar book stores still exist. However, I think the change will require much smaller stores and many more of them, virtually everywhere! Take my small town. I have to drive 20+ miles to the closest B&N store. I rarely go. I buy book three ways: ebooks via the Internet; hard cover via the Internet but only discounted books, and local discount places. I also use the local library a lot, including for ebooks.

So if B&N wants to survive, perhaps they should close most of their big stores and open, as well as franchise, smaller book stores around the country. They should also become a 100% discount seller and expand and promote their Internet presence! Can you see B&N like Subway, just about a physical presence everywhere? And what products and services should they provide besides hard cover books? Well how about Nook type units services! What else? Sell ebooks ... coffee ..... ???

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Change is the only constant
by sekander2 / January 31, 2012 2:29 AM PST
In reply to: 1 to 3 years

I grew up working in record stores in the late 60's and went on to become a radio DJ.
I used to love going into record stores to search through the bins for some long lost gem.
You can see where I'm going with this. Its no different with books.
How many record stores are there in your city or town? If you're not in LA, you're lucky to
have one. E media has taken over the music business completely and the book business is next.
We can rail at the heavens all we want but the change is inevitable. How many of us loved slipping
an album out of the jacket and placing it on the turntable? How many of us love to open a literary
treasure to see what's waiting inside? How many of us are over 40? 50? 60?
Ask the younger generation about vinyl and turntables and see the reaction. In another few years,
you will be able to get the same reaction when inquiring about books. We will be gone and our
art forms will be in museums, where our descendants will look with curiousity at such crude forms
of expression. Another sign of the Apocalypse....I bought a Kindle. It's great.

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Record Stores et al
by cnetba / January 31, 2012 7:40 AM PST

Yep, can identify with the record store bit. My best friend growing up worked in a small shop circa 1960 that had a couple of booths with turntables where you could preview an LP b4 you purchased. I did a good deal more previewing than buying, if memory serves!
One of our sons - he turned 35 on Saturday - knows more about what I'll call popular music than anyone I know. Took a test b4 being hired by a record store during high school years re musical knowledge and got a perfect score, resulting in an accusatory phone call from the owner about having a copy of the test before the fact. He didn't - David is a minister these days - and got the job. Unfortunately, the store folded about a year later, victim of the changing times.
Received a Kindle Fire for Christmas and mix downloads from our local public library with loans of "the real thing". Nice way to fly!

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ideas for B&N
by Piercan / February 2, 2012 8:59 AM PST
In reply to: 1 to 3 years

Yes I agree. They should also have wider areas in their stores where people can sit and read. They already sell coffee and offer WiFi. Maybe they should also serve beer (have agreements with a couple of local micro-breweries!). As regards the Nook, they should open the platform to other formats such as .pdf, Word™, and plain text.

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Diversify and modify to customer base.
by donstalzer6 / January 31, 2012 2:11 AM PST

There is a need for a bookstore. The customers are often different. Some want a book on home maintenance with pictures. Having a laptop or tablet next to the project may not work. Many children want their new book from grandparents in bed with them...not a smartphone. Some just want to sit and decide which magazine has the best information to satisfy current needs and projects. Some just need to find a book where they use a marker and read a few pages now and then. And...get a cup of coffee, greet others and maybe enjoy a pastry. And there are many who still want a CD or a DVD and forget the enlarged TV programming and expense. And there are times I note that libraries have guest artists and writers visit them gathering a strong audience with mutual benefit. B & H may have to resort to a section for used books. And what child is not fond of sharing time with a story reader and a treat with mom, dad or grandparent? They may have to add a fireplace or even an area where video is used to expose us to something not very heavily advertised. But change is always inevitable while we still like museums, horse and buggy and old steam engined train rides. My view on the technology is first and foremost the ability for college books to be online or downloaded and always 'up to date' without enormous cost. The bookstore AND technology.

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How Long ...
by cnetba / January 31, 2012 2:23 AM PST

We have in our suburban Chicago town both a B + N and a very successful independent bookstore, known internationally (since an Australian friend recently commented on Anderson's). There will continue to be a place for sellers of hard copy books so long as some integrity remains on the part of the reading public. By that I mean not just using the stores to gain information and then buy online or download. Those who go this route really do Gutenberg and all that has followed a disservice!

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Barnes and Noble Book Stores
by Bapkin / January 31, 2012 2:44 AM PST
They will remain in business , but be smaller and do the business that the average person can not do on line and fill the needs of the professional person as well as others .
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It will happen like the video rental stores
by jzmn / January 31, 2012 3:03 AM PST

I see us losing B&N like we are losing Blockbusters.

I truly miss walking into a bookstore and smelling that book smell. I do not miss the smell of coffee walking into B&N. I miss the used bookstores more than B&N and without B&N we cannot have used bookstores. I admit I get most of my books from Kindle now, but I have only paid for 4 out of my 600+ books. I am still loyal to if I am going to pay for my books I want to see them in my bookcase. Yes, I have a bookcase and actually use it for what it is named, for 'books', wow, what a rebel I am. I have bookcases full of books and I love to see my collection, and for my friends to see be able to browse what I have collected and to share them with my friends. Unlike some people that use bookcases for their junk and knick-knacks.

Consider this, not only will you lose your real-life books to electronics but eventually your videos to digital downloads. And everything will be saved on some version of cloud, which will start off free until you need more space which will build and add up and cost more and more. You risk losing what you have to some electronic glitch, which may or may not happen, and they may be truly sorry that your collection is lost in digital nothingness but there will be nothing you can do but try and replace it. I on the other hand will just walk to my bookcase and pull out my wonderful smelling book and cosy up in my chair in front of the tv waiting for friends to watch a movie on my DVD player.

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Service will win out
by jww / January 31, 2012 3:12 AM PST

Barnes and Noble probably will not survive because they have become too big for personal, warm, knowlegable service. Book people want good books (and sometimes coffee) but, most of all, good service. Smaller bookstores will offer that and survive in most areas after some attrition due to the economy. If someone just wants a book, they will go to Costco or Amazon. I am a bookaholic and buy real books, ebooks, audio books, used books, independant publishers, etc. But, I did not enjoy going into Borders and I do not enjoy B&N for the above reasons. I prefer a small local book store for browsing(and almost always buying)and Costco or Amazon for quick purchases.

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Perhaps Wishful Thinking, But....
by Flatworm / January 31, 2012 3:49 AM PST

I voted in this poll for eight years or more because, well, books are real and ebooks are not. Indeed, I mourn the passage of Borders and I sincerely hope that Barnes & Noble will still exist after I no longer do.

I do not want to need electricity to read a book. I love books.

And call me a Luddite, but I still love music CDs. I'd love vinyl records, too, if the sound didn't degrade with every time you played it.

I like permanence. I do not want to face the prospect of losing my books and records to a hard drive crash.

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Can Barnes & Noble save the bookstore?
by fwogpad / January 31, 2012 4:07 AM PST

1 to 3 years. It takes a little time to begin or end a huge business.

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View from Victoria, BC Canada
by dropsicle / January 31, 2012 4:09 AM PST

B & N have failed to get electronically connected to Canada. Can't buy a Nook e-reader in Canada, can't have a Nook book billing address in Canada.

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There's more to that story.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 31, 2012 4:13 AM PST

God bless Canada for mandating Canadian content and more but BN couldn't muster enough to make it viable.

You could have an entire discussion on that alone.

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Barnes and Noble is a great bookstore
by Potrubi_Varhanik / January 31, 2012 4:28 AM PST
Barnes and Noble will be around for at least 2 years. There are some professions that NEED printed copies of books, such as musicians, and there is definitely a lot of sheet music on the Barnes and Noble website. Of course, I suppose that a person COULD print out a PDF of sheet music, IF there were only a few pages, maybe up to around 10 pages, but if someone wants to play through a collection of sheet music, it would be very impractical to use any thing but the hard copy. My two cents. B and N, at least for musicians.

<span id="INSERTION_MARKER">Potrubi Varhanik
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How long before B & N stores are no more?
by sweetgadget / January 31, 2012 7:25 AM PST

There's nothing like curling up with a good book; paper is still easier on the eyes than an e-reader. I don't want to have to worry about battery life, freeze-up caused by software bugs, damage caused dropping or banging, etc. Give me a book any day!
Barnes & Noble needs to keep up and be inventive however, as well as lowering their prices to stay alive. Filling their store shelves with all manner of useless products instead of focusing on books might not give B & N the results they're hoping for.

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What's a Barnes and Noble Store ?
by mal_aus / January 31, 2012 11:00 AM PST

Never heard of them but in my neck of the woods (Oz) the book sellers (Borders etc.) are going broke at a rapid rate. There seems to be a proliferation of discount book shops, which sell off stock, springing up in shopping malls and the conventional shops are disappearing fast. It is also affecting the publishing firms and printers. This has been happening for several years and seems to be occurring at a steady rate.
I believe there will always be libraries with paper books on the shelves but the books will mostly be limited print runs or old collectables. Goodbye to the valuable first editions for later collectors and goodbye to many printing shops unless they can sell lots of coffee table articles..
There's no better way to read than a paper book but even I am reading Horatio Hornblower, for free, on my PC. I hate the thought of a 7 or 10 inch screen for reading but it is happening. I still have a paper novel in the dunny though.

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by oliverpisces / January 31, 2012 3:10 PM PST

Bookshops may vanish eventually but I don't believe it will happen all that rapidlly - even people who do their reading on e-books still go to bookshops, sometimes to browse and decide what they're going to download onto their e-book, but there are still plenty of books that are worth buying as books to keep - for all the family to read, to lend to friends and generally dip into whenever you feel like it. Although many of the older generation are now reading e-books (for changing text size, ease of use etc), they are also the ones who spend lots of time in bookshops. One good result of all this might be that books will drop in price - I doubt it though!

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Large booksellers are regretfully dead.
by feduchin / January 31, 2012 10:34 PM PST

-- although to be honest I don't use them, even though I say 'regretfully'. I haven't used them for the past 10-15 years! When you read a lot, who can afford their prices, especially with 100% markup in Australia!Up to about 4-5 years ago I used the cheap importing book stores. Then (remembering I am in Australia) I changed to the wonderful service offered by The Book Depository, UK --- their FREE worldwide postage + great prices: Just about unbeatable....
EXCEPT by Kindle! I started using a Kindle (because the books were climbing the walls) about 8 months ago; I average about 10 per month. Amazon Kindle offer a very large inventory plus prices better than paper, so what am I supposed to do? Prices from $0 to $9.99 average -- too good!
Borders worldwide closed last year, together with another of their Australian subsidiaries; a large one.
Afraid to say B & N will no doubt follow soon, unless they can re-invent themselves by tying in their online business with their book stores.
I wish them luck.

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We have 3 e-readers at home but still like hardcovers
by D4H / February 2, 2012 12:59 AM PST

If the Constitution was written in code and the computer crashes does that mean we've lost the Constitution and or the Bill of Rights? is something to be said for hard copies!!!!

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Ever heard of back ups
by mal_aus / February 2, 2012 4:15 PM PST

The original hard copies should always be around in protected storage. i too prefer reading from a print based product but that won't halt "progress". I also like lighting fires with 2 sticks but it's not very fashionable.

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If it ain't broke...
by sweetgadget / February 3, 2012 4:54 AM PST
In reply to: Ever heard of back ups

If people need to keep the original copies in storage, there's hardly any point in purchasing an e-reader, plus continuing to buy 'books' for the reader. It seems redundant and expensive to purchase a book in two formats.
While something may not be fashionable, following along like sheep with the masses to try and fit in isn't fashionable either. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

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