Posted by: ushistoryfiles | October 18, 2012

What the Heck Barnes & Noble

I like books…see??…  This is about half of my book collection.  (BTW, if anyone knows of a good & inexpensive piece of book tracking software let me know.)

As I said I like books.  So when the missus told me she got a 15% coupon from Barnes & Noble, I decided that I would head over and pick up a copy of Earl J. Hess’ new book on the Knoxville Campaign.  And off to Barnes & Noble I went.  My first surprise was that it seems the local store has decimated their US History section.  Compared to what it once was it now seems tiny.  They have rearranged the section I guess hoping that customers wouldn’t notice, but the Civil War section was once 2 bookcases now it may be one if you are lucky.

Determined to use my 15% off coupon, I headed to the Customer Service desk to see if I could order it and still get the savings.  The woman was nice enough, ordered the book, and asked if I wanted it shipped to my home or the store – to have it sent to the store would cost $10 more she said!  Of course I said “home” and didn’t think much about the $10 at the time, what I WAS thinking was, “Gee, I could have ordered it off of Amazon if I had wanted it shipped to my house”.  I mean, the point of having a retail store is so that people can walk in and purchase books.

It wasn’t until later that I focused on the $10.  I mean, does it really cost that much to ship it to the store roughly 7 miles away?  And wouldn’t Barnes & Noble want me to cross the threshold of their doors anyway?  I mean, isn’t the point of advertising, sales, coupons, and so on to drive the customer to your store.  I might walk in looking for a copy of one thing and purchase several other items.  They seem to know about “impuse buying” based on the amount of garbage that they keep around the registers.  The intelligent thing to do would be to ENCOURAGE customers to enter the store to pick up their items, but then again the intelligent thing would be for them to actually have a decent stock of books (they do call themselves booksellers after all) instead of games, puzzles, and Legos.

Not sure of the wisdom of the business model, but Barnes & Noble seems to be more for browsing than for buying.


  1. I completely agree. Their entire non-fiction section has gone down the pipes with prices increasing on everything else in their store. Ever since I lost Borders, Amazon has been the best go-to place for me. I’m honestly surprised that their brick and mortar stores are still in business.

  2. […] My darlin’ and I went on a little adventure this evening.  It started with a trip to the library (it ended up being 2 libraries actually), dinner (shout out to Mr. Li’s who has the BEST pork fried rice EVER), and Barnes & Noble.  I was looking for the new Gaelic Storm CD The Boathouse.  I am not sure why I go looking to Barnes & Noble for anything anymore because they NEVER have what I am looking for.  But that is a subject for another rant which I have here. […]

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