Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Grab Mr. Darcy and hold on tight — it looks like Barnes & Noble is slipping away from us.
Last night, B&N CEO William Lynch resigned. Their stocks have been going down and the company recently announced they will stop making the fancier versions of their Nook e-reader—not a huge loss for consumers, but it's far from a sign of a flourishing business.
In Tucson, we're lucky. We have Antigone and Bookmans, both of which are incredibly helpful and fun to spend time in. But, they both have limitations. Perusing Bookmans' shelves is always rewarded with an unexpected and delightful find. However, their stock is limited to books people are willing to part with (e.g., you won't be able to find a copy of Battle Royale. Believe me, I have tried. A lot), and they don't keep an inventory of the books they do they have in stock. Antigone has a great selection, but they don't stock up. If someone else was looking for a copy of Cunt that week, you're outta luck. Of course, Antigone is always happy to order a book in, but...
... sometimes you need a specific book. You need it in your hands, immediately, at 10:55 on a Friday night. B&N fills that hole.
To be honest, I think my concern stems more from worry about the book industry as a whole. It's easy to forget about reading in a world of Netflix and Gawker. At the very least, B&N's recommendation emails remind me to close my laptop and wander into a bookstore, even if it's not one of their own (which, yes, I realize is part of B&N's problem). Books are important and so are the companies that distribute them.
We already lost Borders; I'm not ready to say goodbye again.