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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Barnes & Noble: the beginning of the end

The end of the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain has not yet arrived. But it is now in sight:
I’ve been chronicling the slow demise of B&N for years now, watching the company bleed out, drop by drop, until it has become a shell of its former value. B&N was a cultural center in places without cultural centers. It was a stopover on rainy days in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland and it was a place you could go to get your kids’ first books.

That’s mostly over now. On Monday the company laid off 1,800 people. This offered a cost savings of $40 million. But that’s particularly interesting. That means each of those people made an average of $22,000 or so per year and minimum wage workers – hourly folks who are usually hit hardest during post-holiday downturns – would be making $15,000. In fact, what B&N did was fire all full time employees at 781 632 stores. From a former employee:

On Monday morning, every single Barnes & Noble location told their full-time employees to pack up and leave. The eliminated positions were as follows: the head cashiers (those are the people responsible for handling the money), the receiving managers (the people responsible for bringing in product and making sure it goes where it should), the digital leads (the people responsible for solving Nook problems), the newsstand leads (the people responsible for distributing the magazines), and the bargain leads (the people responsible for keeping up the massive discount sections). A few of the larger stores were able to spare their head cashiers and their receiving managers, but not many.

Further, the company laid off many shipping receivers around the holidays, resulting in bare shelves and a customer escape to Amazon. In December 2017, usually B&N’s key month, sales dropped 6 percent to $953 million. Online sales fell 4.5 percent.

It is important to note that when other big box retailers, namely Circuit City, went the route of firing all highly paid employees and bringing in minimum wage cashiers, stockers, and salespeople it signaled the beginning of the end.
It's actually worse than was originally reported, because Barnes & Noble had already shut down 149 of those 781 stores.

The decline of Barnes & Noble is both sad and exciting, as far as I'm concerned. Sad, because the bookstore was an important part of my early adulthood. I used to go to the original Roseville store after work on payday to spend most of my monthly $50 book budget on what gradually became an impressive collection of SF/F paperbacks, augmented by an eclectic assortment of hardcovers picked up on remainder. That's why I still have all the Dorset Press books, like The Kingdom of Armenia by M. Chahin and The Mabinogion, translated and introduced by Jeffrey Gantz, on the bookshelves in my office.

A few years later, Spacebunny and I used to spend almost every Friday night at the Har Mar Barnes & Noble after working out and having dinner with the guys at Khan's Mongolian BBQ. That was also where, as a newly published SF author, I participated in the store's biggest-ever book-signing with David Arneson, Gordon R. Dickson, Joel Rosenberg, and David Feintuch, all of whom have since left us. For more than a decade, Barnes & Noble was a touchstone for me.

But the incipient failure of the chain also means that new opportunities are in store. It means that Amazon's influence over the book world will grow stronger and the power of the Big Five will be further weakened. It means chaos and excitement and danger, and an environment in which the most nimble and adroit can profit most.

So, it's going to be an interesting ride ahead. I hope you will join us on it. And since I'm often asked how our readers can most effectively support us when you buy our books, the answer is buying our print edition books through the Castalia Direct Store. The interface absolutely sucks and the prices are not always as good as Amazon, but we are working with our partners are Aerio on improving both. The alternative is to be completely dependent upon Amazon, which strikes me, for one, as a risky idea.

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84 Comments:

Blogger Shimshon February 18, 2018 8:23 AM  

"buying our print edition books through the Catalia Direct Store"

Typo.

Blogger Rick February 18, 2018 8:27 AM  

Is there anything B&N could have done to prevent this? If yes, then what?

Blogger Cubby8126 February 18, 2018 8:30 AM  

As much as the place has converged, i still enjoy how quiet it is when i go there just to read or relax with my woman.

Blogger Cubby8126 February 18, 2018 8:32 AM  

They could have supported non sjw sf writers, and fired any who supported the sjw pedo rape writers of sf.

Blogger Rick February 18, 2018 8:39 AM  

I think that would have only slowed the inevitable.

Blogger Jeff aka Orville February 18, 2018 8:40 AM  

B&N, gone and nearly forgotten. I spent many an evening in one of the many comfy chairs either reading for information or pleasure. At one time they had a really decent computer/web/programming section. I'd take several promising sci-fi books to my chair and read fifty pages or so to see if it was worth buying.

Then the selections started to decline. The comfy chairs grew fewer, so I sat on the floor against a wall. Then came the infestation of toys and trinkets. Six or seven years ago I bought a Kindle and never looked back.

I went in recently on a lark. It was like returning to a childhood neighborhood expecting to see it as it was, only to find something small and shabby in it's place.

Blogger tz February 18, 2018 8:43 AM  

Anyone remember Border's? I loved going to the original Borders in Ann Arbor near U of M. More than the libraries (I was a student). Borders grew. B&N copied. Borders went bankrupt.
Interestingly, Best Buy is still around having adjusted itself to the new paradigm. (It's rival, Circuit City died between the cuts and constantly pushing the ill fated DivX players over DVDs).
With any Big Box store (Another pair would be Home Depot v.s. Lowes), the temptaton is to hire minimum wage idiots, but they could be replaced by clearer or more detailed sinage or maps.
If you have useful experts, or at least people who answer questions, to make the experience of shopping - choosing things - easier you seem to be able to make it.
Books - media - seem to be a special problem as you converge things. You can't sell some SJW tripe enthusiastically, unless you are a SJW and don't read it. I suspect a quiet convergence happened.

Blogger Timmy3 February 18, 2018 8:45 AM  

They are big stores. No way they can manage such a large store without full time employees. I guess Starbucks is the loser too since they occupy the same space.

Blogger Koanic February 18, 2018 8:49 AM  

Having lost their nobility, the barns will follow.

Blogger bobby February 18, 2018 8:58 AM  

Sorry, somewhat OT, but . . .

Joel Rosenberg. Voices from the past. He was my first Pistol Permit teacher, a very interesting guy in his own right, and a great voice and friend here for years. I still think the local sheriff killed him through stress.

Blogger tuberman February 18, 2018 8:59 AM  

"Anyone remember Border's? I loved going to the original Borders in Ann Arbor near U of M. More than the libraries (I was a student). Borders grew. B&N copied."

There use to be a Borders a couple of miles from where I lived, and really enjoyed that place. A couple of extremely pretty lady 20 somethings employed in the coffee shop area did not hurt, and good coffee too. I spent hours there sipping coffee and browsing. Some high ranking chess masters showed up in the evenings once a week too.

Blogger bobby February 18, 2018 9:01 AM  

"No way they can manage such a large store without full time employees."

They think they've tapped into robotics as a way to replace people. See, they have an app that will handle everything the employees used to do. Should be all rosy days from this point forward.

Yeah, right.

Blogger Justin Bailey February 18, 2018 9:08 AM  

Never spent much time in Barnes and Noble, but I did enjoy Borders in college and I practically lived in Waldenbooks growing up. End of an era I suppose.

Blogger Jeff aka Orville February 18, 2018 9:15 AM  

In the 70's there were lots of small chain and indie bookstores that were great places to hang out. Then Borders and B&N came and those small shops dried up.

It's a micro version of enclosed malls. Used to be great places until the vibrants came, now many are abandoned or nearly broke with anchor stores dropping like flies.

Blogger Felix Bellator February 18, 2018 9:33 AM  

I will look in on one of the local stores and assess the impact.

VD: Was Gordon R. Dickson awesome?

Blogger Anno Ruse February 18, 2018 9:46 AM  

Every day I shed a single tear for the B&N that was, when books were their lifeblood. Nowadays it's board games, toys, and so much bric-a-brac. A shame and a disgrace.

Blogger Guitar Man February 18, 2018 10:00 AM  

How old are you, Anno? 175?

Blogger Chicago Robb February 18, 2018 10:01 AM  

I lived in the Twin Cities for 4 years, went back to Chicago(land) for 2 and returns to St. Paul. When I was here before, I thought Har-Mar was a "Dead Mall". Back home, I found a real "Dead Mall", Charlestowne in St. Charles, a middle to upper class suburb.Came back to the TC, Har-Mar was reasonably healthy. I will have to stop by the Har-Mar B and N today. Maybe you should have a book signing there ( only half kidding)

Blogger Dave February 18, 2018 10:07 AM  

That’s mostly over now. On Monday the company laid off 1,800 people. This offered a cost savings of $40 million. But that’s particularly interesting. That means each of those people made an average of $22,000 or so per year and minimum wage workers – hourly folks who are usually hit hardest during post-holiday downturns – would be making $15,000.

This calculation doesn't take into account the $40M savings to the company also includes employee benefits and FICA, etc.

A rule of thumb used to be the company's cost for each employee was 1.5x their salary. Now this was for full-time employees with benefits; healthcare, FICA, paid holidays/vacation days/sick days, etc.

The article says the 1800 were all full-time employees; assuming some benefit package was included, they were making much closer to minimum wage than they were to $22k.

With today's MAGA economy, B&N just did these employees a favor. For anyone to continue working at or near minimum wage in a shrinking market was to have your head buried in the sand. The smarter ones got out early and probably ended up with MAGA bonuses from companies that are prospering and growing in this economy.

Blogger VD February 18, 2018 10:09 AM  

Is there anything B&N could have done to prevent this? If yes, then what?

Yes. They should have teamed up with the then-Big Six to fight Amazon through a combination of online and in-store sales. The major publishers wanted to have their cake and eat it too, though, so they would have had to place the majority of their efforts there.

Instead, they tried to compete on their own with Nook. Too little, too late. Those who are middlemen are eventually going to get cut out, either by the manufacturers or by a more efficient competitor.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 18, 2018 10:10 AM  

@Guitar Man, you think someone who goes by "Anno Ruse" is going to answer that honestly?

It's 2018! Times have changed!

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 18, 2018 10:12 AM  

Amazon tries to be the ultimate middleman, hence the streamlining of access and reach.

Blogger Rick February 18, 2018 10:23 AM  

Yes, as the MSM and big newspapers have become the middlemen to Trump’s Twitter feed.

Blogger S1AL February 18, 2018 10:27 AM  

"Amazon tries to be the ultimate middleman, hence the streamlining of access and reach."

Amazon is trying to trim down to "necessary minimum middleman". We haven't really seen anything like that before, because there digital marketplace didn't exist. The question is if they can get there and stay there, and how antitrust laws will apply if they do.

Blogger VD February 18, 2018 10:34 AM  

The question is if they can get there and stay there, and how antitrust laws will apply if they do.

It's dangerous to everyone, because Amazon can literally dictate the winners. They have engaged in some predatory practices, where they notice what is selling well, then go and produce a knockoff version of it that promptly replaces the previous bestseller due to Amazon pushing it via the algorithms.

I expect them to come under serious antitrust scrutiny as soon as B&N goes down. That will almost certainly cause between one and three of the Big Five to fail. The reality is that the Big Five should not be selling their books to Amazon, but none of them have the courage to take the hit and stop feeding their replacement.

We started our online store to avoid being dependent upon Amazon, but unfortunately very few people wanted to buy books there. So, we put them on Kindle Select, and most of them do better there. We may need to rethink that later this year.

Blogger FUBARwest February 18, 2018 10:44 AM  

Seems like the we are going to see an economic meltdown in the 5 year range where middle men are concerned. Your post on Netflix/Hulu seems to apply to Amazon as well. Eventually the manufacturers or content creators aren't going to offer their products to the middlemen and will sell them directly themselves.

Blogger Dexter February 18, 2018 11:04 AM  

I'm old enough to remember the 1980s, when B&N mainly sold by mail order, and their catalog had lots of books you could only get through them and were generally not available in the local BDaltons. I was always very excited to get the catalog and look through it.

Blogger Dexter February 18, 2018 11:06 AM  

@7, yes, I always liked Borders much better than B&N.

@16, I have been expecting B&N to sell lottery tickets, liquor, and cigarettes for a long time now.

Blogger Dexter February 18, 2018 11:07 AM  

Um, why are my posts being deleted?

Blogger Dave February 18, 2018 11:11 AM  

they notice what is selling well, then go and produce a knockoff version

Books too? Wouldn't surprise me if Amazon didn't have an army of romance writers on contract.

Blogger S1AL February 18, 2018 11:15 AM  

"We started our online store to avoid being dependent upon Amazon, but unfortunately very few people wanted to buy books there. So, we put them on Kindle Select, and most of them do better there. We may need to rethink that later this year."

I think the biggest issue is just convenience/laziness. I appreciate being able to pull up my Kindle account on any mobile device or my computer and having instantaneous access to both my current collection and the store if I want to get a sequel.

Convenience is a tough opponent.

Blogger Horn of the Mark February 18, 2018 11:18 AM  

Khan's and B&N--that is an awesome evening. I used to get nothing but B&N gift cards for presents, which was fine by me.

Blogger VD February 18, 2018 11:25 AM  

Convenience is a tough opponent.

No question. The problem is that everyone who loves the convenience is going to bitch, bitch, bitch when everyone else goes out of business and you're stuck reading nothing but what Amazon produces. Already, people complain about the low quality of most books on Kindle Unlimited, which are admittedly pretty bad.

Now imagine that is all that is available. That's what the Amazon-only future looks like.

Blogger HalibetLector February 18, 2018 11:30 AM  

VD wrote:We started our online store to avoid being dependent upon Amazon, but unfortunately very few people wanted to buy books there. So, we put them on Kindle Select, and most of them do better there. We may need to rethink that later this year.

Castalia House Unlimited?

Blogger VD February 18, 2018 11:38 AM  

Castalia House Unlimited?

We don't publish enough to make it worth it. $10 per month isn't a very good deal when we only publish 2-3 ebooks per month.

Blogger SmokeyJoe February 18, 2018 11:43 AM  

25. VD "We started our online store to avoid being dependent upon Amazon, but unfortunately very few people wanted to buy books there. So, we put them on Kindle Select, and most of them do better there. We may need to rethink that later this year."

Perhaps an recognition issue and 'consumer laziness' issue? Interesting, at least to me. Interesting enough that my mind will spin it around as I try to doze off before another night shift. Fun mind candy that!

Blogger Michael Maier February 18, 2018 11:44 AM  

VD wrote:Convenience is a tough opponent.

No question. The problem is that everyone who loves the convenience is going to bitch, bitch, bitch when everyone else goes out of business and you're stuck reading nothing but what Amazon produces. Already, people complain about the low quality of most books on Kindle Unlimited, which are admittedly pretty bad.

Now imagine that is all that is available. That's what the Amazon-only future looks like.


Wait... people READ shite .... just cuz it's FREE?

Blogger VD February 18, 2018 11:50 AM  

Here is the scary thing. Over HALF our ebooks that are available on Kindle Unlimited make more money from KU than they do from book sales. Most of the authors making big money on Amazon are now making it from KU, not from regular book sales.

And anything KU is digitally exclusive to Amazon. That's with only three million KU subscribers.

Blogger WarKicker February 18, 2018 11:52 AM  

E-books are great for vacations, but much prefer print editions anyway. Just treated myself to a bunch for an upcoming birthday. Interface wasn't that bad:)

Blogger FUBARwest February 18, 2018 11:58 AM  

Wow.. Those numbers look like books are another vanishing market. If your numbers are indicative of the rest of the market it's not looking good. Does anybody read anymore?

Blogger DJ | AMDG February 18, 2018 12:05 PM  

With tight ties to say a large global print and distribution provider, could a legit competitor to Amazon (only for print) be a decent business? Obviously it couldn’t compete on price, at least not mostly. The draw would have to be primarily that it’s not Amazon, and secondarily things like customer service, custom interfaces and recommendations, and branding. I know the distribution logistics are a bear, but perhaps a distribution franchise model might work. Idk...seems there must be an Alt-Amazon model out there somewhere that could compete at least on the print level.

Blogger Daniel Paul Grech Pereira February 18, 2018 12:09 PM  

Does anybody remember Coles? When I was a child, a young a nerdy child, I would always beg my mom to take me by the book store so I could look at the history books section. I still have several books on my shelf from these trips to the book store with my mom.

Now, I can't imagine buying a book. I download if I can, and order the book if necessary.

I don't like all my purchases being held hostage online by Amazon. If they ever go out of business, I will demand dloadable ebook versions of everything I've ever purchased from them.

Blogger VD February 18, 2018 12:12 PM  

If your numbers are indicative of the rest of the market it's not looking good.

Those are ebooks-only. Audiobooks are doing well, print books are doing all right. We had a great December, so-so January for print. It will be interesting to see how the comics do in print.

Blogger DJ | AMDG February 18, 2018 12:17 PM  

That makes me curious. I buy the full digital kindle versions of Castalia House products as opposed to being a KU member. My problem of course is I end up buying one to two more books a month than I have time to read. I’ve easily got a 15 book backlog. I don’t mind though since I love supporting the authors.

KU authors only make money when KU customers read the pages. So where is the break even? If I’m a KU customer, and a new Castalia book hits the library, how much do I need to read in any given month to make up for not buying a copy outright?

My guess is buying the digital book outright from Amazon will always make Castalia more money and that KU simply provides revenu from customers who otherwise wouldn’t spend the full $4.99. I probably buy $20-$25 or more of monthly of digital books that I could otherwise read on KU for only $9.99.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 18, 2018 12:17 PM  

Here is the scary thing. Over HALF our ebooks that are available on Kindle Unlimited make more money from KU than they do from book sales. Most of the authors making big money on Amazon are now making it from KU, not from regular book sales.

And anything KU is digitally exclusive to Amazon. That's with only three million KU subscribers.


Word.

They blow my unit sales out of the water.

And that is not just me. Nick Cole's Galaxy's Edge series has moved a 100,000 units but has 4 million page clicks on KU.

Blogger VD February 18, 2018 12:24 PM  

So where is the break even? If I’m a KU customer, and a new Castalia book hits the library, how much do I need to read in any given month to make up for not buying a copy outright?

About 684 pages read. We're much better off if you buy our books.

Nick Cole's Galaxy's Edge series has moved 100,000 units but has 4 million page clicks on KU.

They have a lot more KENP pagereads than that. That's probably what they do a month. KU is creating a serious Pareto-style winners/losers situation, only it's more 1/99 than 20/80. Nick and Jason are two of the big KU winners. Unfortunately for us, none of our books have broken through yet.

But I am confident we will change that. Now you understand why we have the comics on KU, though.

Blogger Warunicorn February 18, 2018 12:28 PM  

There's a YouTuber I subscribe to that does video walks in Japan. One of them featured a bookstore (forgot exactly where) that absolutely floored me. It had multiple buildings with multiple floors that would rival a campus. It was packed.

We have a couple B&N's where I am but that probably won't be for long. Borders has been long gone. I used to be able to get some obscure stuff from there like the Gamera trilogy from the 90's on DVD as well as some Classical recordings.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 18, 2018 12:29 PM  

KU is a game changer.

When KDP started up. You had the option of throwing a book away as a feeder for $0.99. On third went to you and two thirds went to Amazon.

The deal was that really you were just trying to get your name out there. And in the early days moving fifteen thousand at that price did happen, five thousand bucks is the same as what you'd get as a traditional publisher's advance anyway, so all good.

But that was the early days.

Now you'd be nuts to put something up for $0.99 unless you are talking a 20,000 word novella.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 18, 2018 12:32 PM  

@42. VD

I was going off of what Nick said during a podcast. Although, I admit I was driving on slick roads at the time so I might have missed a few important things.

OpenID nhinsnow February 18, 2018 12:37 PM  

VD,

Although not all-important, their stock also just hit new lows, while Amazon continues to fly.

Have you checked out any data on comic-delivery apps? Could be an interesting intersection for your interests; although you probably don't need yet another project idea.

NH

Blogger AnvilTiger February 18, 2018 12:39 PM  

A possible problem is the number of people who read is declining. In one poll it showed 42% of Americans had read at least 11 books in 1978. Another poll showed that only 28% had read that many books in the year of 2014. A Gallup poll showed that while only 8% had read zero books in 1978, that increased to 16% by 2005, and a Pew poll showed that had increased to 26% by 2016.

However statistics and percentages are tricky. How white was the population in America in 1978 compared to 2016? In 2016 a Pew poll broke down non-readers by race - those who had read zero books in the past year. Results: White 23%, Black 29%, Hispanic 40%.

Overall though the percentage number of non-readers has increased significantly. This is being counteracted to some extent by population growth - 200M Americans in 1970, 300M in 2010. Declining reader percentages but a growing number of people available as potential customers.

Blogger Dave February 18, 2018 12:43 PM  

They have a lot more KENP pagereads than that. That's probably what they do a month

How many pagereads a month would allow a self-published author to make a living? Assuming they can survive on $40-50k annually. Are KU pageread numbers available anywhere similar to book sales?

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 18, 2018 1:04 PM  

"The problem is that everyone who loves the convenience is going to bitch, bitch, bitch when everyone else goes out of business and you're stuck reading nothing but what Amazon produces."

So, this would qualify as another instance of adaptive systems favoring ease of reproduction over quality.

If I were in a more coherent frame of mind I'd do a rough comparison to biological adaptation and draw a corollary back to book distribution to hypothesize effective means of balancing convenience/reproduction versus quality.

Although I suppose it will balance itself given some time.

Sucks, but this would seem to mean that there's also an effective upper limit on quality due to inverse scaling. Lowest common flipping denominator.

Blogger Sheila4g February 18, 2018 1:07 PM  

Used to spend hours in bookstores. The used ones in college, the B&N or Borders at the mall. Same thing even overseas - Singapore had a terrific used English language paperback store. Even our public libraries, when new - excellent kids' selection and lots of new adult offerings. Then came all the diversity playing computer games all day, or the middle school gossip groups purportedly there for studying. And as I increased my home web reading and moved my political beliefs further away from the mainstream, none of political or historical books I wanted to read were available except through inter-library loan, if that. And with increasing residential diversity came increasing traffic (our suburban "city" of under 300,000 has more than 22k H1b visa workers) and I went out anywhere less and less to avoid dealing with their habits and smells and speech.

I now read primarily on my Kindle, and order hard-copy books via Amazon (egads the prices on so many average $75 - $150 a pop for non-fiction). Add in increasing financial pressure and I read more KU (most is crap, but there are some good things mixed in, and for a very fast reader such as myself (who rarely if ever goes to the movies or watches tv) the price is unbeatable. Add in laziness and technological ignorance for transferring content amongst formats) and I am, indeed, almost totally dependent on Amazon for my reading. Not a good portent, as Vox notes, particularly given Bezos' political proclivities.

Blogger S1AL February 18, 2018 1:11 PM  

"Sucks, but this would seem to mean that there's also an effective upper limit on quality due to inverse scaling. Lowest common flipping denominator."

LCD is less important than opportunity cost. I don't have anywhere near enough time to do all the things I would like to do. That's why I real, like everyone else, on recommendations. The risk isn't, imo, some massive drop in quality; it's a different form of gatekeeping.

Blogger VD February 18, 2018 1:14 PM  

The risk isn't, imo, some massive drop in quality; it's a different form of gatekeeping.

The risk of lowered quality isn't a risk, it's already happened. What is likely is that you're going to get both a) lower quality AND b) Amazon gatekeeping.

Blogger Not a lefty February 18, 2018 1:27 PM  

The best advice I ever got for shopping at the home despot was limit any employee contact to 2 questions: where is it and how much is it. Anything more than that will result in a homeowners insurance claim .

Blogger CM February 18, 2018 1:31 PM  

A possible problem is the number of people who read is declining. In one poll it showed 42% of Americans had read at least 11 books in 1978. Another poll showed that only 28% had read that many books in the year of 2014. A Gallup poll showed that while only 8% had read zero books in 1978, that increased to 16% by 2005, and a Pew poll showed that had increased to 26% by 2016.

All the books I wanted to read were written in the 19th century.

I exaggerate a bit, but the quality, not only in written word, but story and theme, motif and fable have declined - or simply found not worthy.

John Wright is a godsend. And I appreciate this venture VD has undertaken. I'll have to peruse his print books and get some.

Blogger S1AL February 18, 2018 2:02 PM  

"In one poll it showed 42% of Americans had read at least 11 books in 1978. Another poll showed that only 28% had read that many books in the year of 2014."

Part of this is audiobooks, podcasts, YouTube, etc. I have friends who used to read dozens of books per year, but now read 2-3 and instead listen to the rest.

"The risk of lowered quality isn't a risk, it's already happened."

This might just be my lack of familiarity, but isn't there an element of mass proliferation to this? There was a 100x increasesw in books on Amazon in the span of a few years, so that's going to change the average quality by itself. Same with KU.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 18, 2018 2:55 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 18, 2018 2:57 PM  

For those that aren't being impressed with 4 million page clicks per month.

Kindle Unlimited pay rate is about half a cent ($0.00488) per page.

Which means the Galaxy's Edge series is hauling in about, do the math yourself.

However, you need to keep in mind that Amazon reserves the right to change that payout, AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 18, 2018 2:58 PM  

Oh boy, 1/99 Pareto-like effect means you're either the kingpin or in jail, to compare a similarly scaled system.

The thing here is, I suspect aspiring writers tend toward higher intelligence than aspiring drug dealers. Higher intelligence tends to mean more risk-averse behavior. More risk averse behavior means a smaller trial pool of books, in this case much, much smaller.

That could get vicious.

Blogger Hammerli280 February 18, 2018 3:02 PM  

Sad. If Amazon were smart, they'd be asking for regulation as a monopoly - easier to deal with it that way than to have it imposed on them.

Or put seed money into a competitor. If they don't control it, they solve the monopoly problem neatly without sacrificing their profit margin.

Blogger D. Bay February 18, 2018 3:33 PM  

I sometimes still miss my local Borders bookstore. It was a great place to just hang out and browse.

Blogger SciVo February 18, 2018 3:45 PM  

The Clackamas Town Center mall is quite healthy, as is its 2-story B&N; coincidentally, Oregon is notoriously white. (I can only imagine that the Football By Fanzz store must be absolutely furious at the NFL, though, and the STARWARSTORE seems ill-timed.)

Blogger Revelation Means Hope February 18, 2018 4:04 PM  

If you peruse the B&N online store, you see the impact of SJW convergence.
And their moronic handling of their Nook brand, well, it was moronic. Repeatedly.
All their online pushed books, toys, etc are exploiting Black History month rather than President's day right now.

As I found out trying to dump a bunch of books about famous black people on eBay, black people don't read too much and they don't shop online for books and intellectual toys too much. And as the black Barbie dolls clearly pointed out, black products aren't too popular with whites except for the tiny fraction of a percent who want to virtue signal.

Blogger Revelation Means Hope February 18, 2018 4:06 PM  

My homeschooled son is trying to use up his B&N gift cards to avoid having them become as worthless as my old Borders gift cards.

He can't find too much on their website that is interesting to him.

Blogger DJ | AMDG February 18, 2018 4:23 PM  

Very true. I’m surprised how busy the Medford Mall and Medford BnN are considering. Busy doesn’t mean revenue, though. Having people window shop and shoot product barcodes with their Amazon app can’t make those places very happy.

Blogger Dave February 18, 2018 4:57 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Dave February 18, 2018 5:16 PM  

Cataline Sergius wrote:For those that aren't being impressed with 4 million page clicks per month.

I'm impressed but that still shows a vast untapped potential market on KU. Say out of 3M KU subscribers; 10% or 300k would consider reading Galaxy's Edge. If 10% of that 300k read one Galaxy Edge book per month that would be 30,000 books read or approximately 10.2M pages clicks per month (average book length 340 pages)

Blogger Dirk Manly February 18, 2018 5:36 PM  

@2

"Is there anything B&N could have done to prevent this? If yes, then what?"

Demand that the publishers stop catering exclusively to Manhattan sensibilities, and start publishing a mix of books that will sell everywhere.

The big problem is, Barnes & Noble is a NYC company, and Manhattanites *ALL* really do believe that this is an accurate portrayal of the American landscape:

http://juliasantengallery.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/New-Yorker-2306.jpg

Blogger Dirk Manly February 18, 2018 5:38 PM  

....ESPECIALLY in the publishing world.

Blogger Dirk Manly February 18, 2018 5:42 PM  

"Anyone remember Border's? I loved going to the original Borders in Ann Arbor near U of M."

Borders was converged even faster than B&N.

Why?

Because Ann Arbor makes NYC look look like an ice-bed of conservatism.

When I was in junior high / high school, I dreamed of going to U of M. Got accepted, but decided to go to Purdue.

After having talked with friends from high school who did go to U of M, choosing Purdue was Best decision of my life.

Blogger VD February 18, 2018 5:46 PM  

He can't find too much on their website that is interesting to him.

Have him look up our books. All of our print books are there.

Another point of interest. We submitted a new print book into distribution on Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoon, it appeared on Amazon. As of Sunday night, it's still not on Barnes & Noble. They're simply not offering effective competition on the most fundamental basics.

Blogger Dirk Manly February 18, 2018 5:59 PM  

@27

"Books too? Wouldn't surprise me if Amazon didn't have an army of romance writers on contract."

Considering that romance writing is formulaic (If you want to write romance novels for one of the high-selling publishers, they give you a template for the structure of the plot, and the roles which must be filled to carry out that plot. It's flexible enough to work in any setting (from garden of Eden to Babylonia to medieval to modern to futuristic), because it describes some characteristics of the characters, and those characteristics govern the interactions to provide the required protagonist (main female character) and antagonist (the guy she hates but seduces, or whatever).

It's literally ALL THE SAME STORY EVERY SINGLE TIME. The only thing that really changes are the names, the time periods, and the localities.

Blogger Meng Greenleaf February 18, 2018 7:12 PM  

I'm fairly sure that was a tour around Jimbocho, Tokyo. It's a Book Town. There are also Electronics Towns and other such places. Book stores in Japan seem to be doing well enough. I like to go to a few in and around Kobe. A couple are set up like Boarders used to be with a nice cafe in the front.

Blogger xavier February 18, 2018 7:27 PM  

And repudiate the big 5's paper cult fetish and market Nook books,the ereaders and apps like crazy. Also to have sponsored up and coming writers and let the customer pick and choose who to read or

Blogger seeingsights February 18, 2018 10:08 PM  

'Seems like the we are going to see an economic meltdown in the 5 year range where middle men are concerned. Your post on Netflix/Hulu seems to apply to Amazon as well. Eventually the manufacturers or content creators aren't going to offer their products to the middlemen and will sell them directly themselves.'

I think that the next stage in publishing will be publishers and writers selling their work directly to readers.

There are some current examples of the next stage. For example, I've bought a pdf version of a magazine directly from the publisher, which was about 40 percent off the dead tree version price. Another example: a writer putting up a piece online, and getting paid for it by donations and advertising.

Blogger Thot February 19, 2018 12:23 AM  

B&N was one of my first jobs. The local management and middle management was a shit show. Most of the worries that were addressed each day in our meetings were not about customer satisfaction but literally keeping stock moving from one place in the store to another or shipping it between stores and warehouses. They would complain about sales but then also complain if you spent to much time helping customers. Our assistant manager was arrested for some sort of embezzling funds from our store. Fun times.

Blogger Sterling Pilgrim February 19, 2018 1:17 AM  

Our local B&N has become quite the place to buy none other than vinyl records. They carry a great selection and pretty decent prices. That and criterion releases on blu ray keep me visiting.

Blogger The Deplorable Podunk Ken Ramsey February 19, 2018 2:35 AM  

Well let's not exempt the immanent demise of our last major bookstore from the same line of thinking that explains the collapse of all other media. The problem is millennials, they say. These people don't watch TV, don't listen to radio, don't read magazines, don't read books, don't watch sports, and also don't go to movies, and they don't even buy comics anymore. They are simply amazing stick-in-the-mud cultural contrarians, apparently, but must never be said to be.

It's not clear what they do except stream things for free from somewhere. From Planet Netflix, I suppose.

I would submit to you, however, that human nature has not changed. The millennials aren't so vastly different than every other generation before them, and they are not so wildly out of line.

No, the problem is that there simply isn't enough of them. They can't carry the torch and sustain the debt levels and provide the expanding markets.

And that is the rub. That is why the world leaders of the West are hell-bent on importing all comers. Barnes & Noble is a canary in the coalmine, and illustrative. You can bring Africa over into Minnesota, but you're never packing them into Barnes & Noble except for the days of discount coffee.

Blogger Connor Johnston February 19, 2018 10:18 AM  

I go to Chapters to look at the titles, then order from Amazon for 20% cheaper

Blogger Jon Higley February 19, 2018 11:23 PM  

As a former security guard for Barnes & Noble last year over the past two years in the Pacific Northwest region of the country, I've watched first-hand as the company slowly began terminating all of their security contracts. Now there are none, which is fine by me. I don't count on that source of income; it was "mad money". Not sure whether this blogger mentioned why this has happened in his/her post, but my speculation is that Amazon - which is currently building skyscapers in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle - has effectively "neutered" the company out of business.

Blogger Amazing Quotes February 20, 2018 10:41 AM  

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