Given that I am of a generation that has witnessed amazing new technological leaps, the idea that I’d walk into a Barnes & Noble store to pick up a book I had ordered from them probably dates me more than anything else I could say or do. Yes, I have heard of Amazon, however, I am not yet tied to that entity for any and all things I seek…but that is going to change whether or not I like the idea.
I did walk into the local Barnes & Noble last Friday to pick up a copy of a book I wanted (Google’s Blogger for Dummies, but please don’t tell anyone). I had ordered it through B&N when I walked into their store and found they didn’t carry it on their bookshelves. No, I didn’t think about Amazon, but I wish I had given the price difference and the fact that I’d have had my book sooner.
I am not a ‘Nook” person since I love the tactile sensation of the book or the newspaper, but I think I see a change coming…whether or not I might be in favor of that change.
My Barnes & Noble experience was one of some frustration since they seemed only to have employees in places where I wasn’t. I was e-mailed to let me know my book was ready for pick-up a few days after my visit, and I went back right away only to find that where I placed the order wasn’t where I was to pick up the order.
That was only made known to me after I sought human assistance only to find the two people who seemed to be employees engaged in conversation and seeming to not wish to be interrupted…who finally acknowledged me only to dismissively say that I couldn’t pick up the book I ordered from the department where I had ordered it, but from the cashier where I’d be paying for the book.
There, I’ve vented. But that doesn’t change reality. Bookstores are dwindling in numbers. Barnes & Noble is suffering significantly. It had a 5.3% decrease in store revenue and, even worse, a 19.5% decrease in their Nook revenue. Libraries are even competing effectively with Barnes & Noble through the use of Overdrive that delivers Nook books at no cost to the reader.
Barnes & Noble competes with itself with the free Nook books it makes available.
I should’ve been able to see this wall writing the day I stopped at Barnes & Noble when I saw the paucity of customers. I may be among the last of a breed in terms of my preference for books I can hold, but I will not soon forget that Amazon has anything and everything I could imagine, and I can have it a discounted prices and delivered to my door pronto.
(By the way, I think I will likely be moving my Curmudgeon Blog to a different system that seems to be more accommodating. You probably got that hint when I mentioned the book ‘Google’s Blogger for Dummies’. I’ll keep you posted; ideally, the change won’t be too painful for either you or me.)