Author Topic: Barnes and Noble  (Read 1280 times)

kaysixteen

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Barnes and Noble
« on: December 26, 2022, 08:30:26 PM »
So I went into the local B&N today, two towns over, in a much wealthier university town.   I do not go in there very often, and when I go, mostly it is to see what books I might like to get from the library, and take author info down.   I had perhaps thought that there might be some after Xmas sales today, but the amount of bargain books was actually quite minuscule.  And when I do go in, I only look through the shelves for book types/ genres I read in, which is less than half of what is even available.  Outside of two fiction genres, these are only non-fic ones.  Now it has been years since I have been impressed by the place-- as far back as ten years back a student at my old Christian school gave me a $5 gift cert there, and it took me at least 45 minutes to find something I felt like buying.   But today it dawned on me as I was looking through various sections, esp but not exclusively the 'current events' one, is anyone at B&N HQ actually reading these books before agreeing to have them put on their sales shelves?   Doing fact checks and other forms of vetting?  IOW, some of the astoundingly bad slopola here, mostly but not exclusively from a hard-right, Trumpanzee perspective, defies justification, or does B&N just put anything that they think they could sell on the shelves?  I recall one book, written by a Dave (?) Rubin, of whom I had never heard, a hard-right author who was, according to the book jacket blurb, , blathering on about the hideousness of woke progressivism (all the weirder from a gay man who is living in Los Angeles with his husband, something Trump and Co probably would not be eager to facilitate), and said blurb notes that he has a highly rated Youtube podcast.   So why is it that anyone would trust the insights of a guy with a Youtube podcast?  But, of course, many of the non-fic books sold there demonstrate the reality that many Americans do not read well, lack critical thinking skills as well as a solid knowledge basis, so perhaps this is not so surprising.  Still, am I wrong to suggest that B&N ought to exercise at least some responsibilty not to put alternative facts insanity up for sale?

lightning

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2022, 01:38:49 AM »
I have some spare time over the holidays, so I was thinking of going to B&N tomorrow, after some bank and post office errands.

I am like you in that even after I spend a lot of time randomly browsing, I find very few items that interest me, at a B&N. Honestly, I mainly go for the coffee, wi-fi, and a place to hang out.

I stay away from the politics and current events section, but I would not be surprised if they sell garbage that sells. After all, B&N has to make a buck, somehow.

I would not be surprised either, if the people that decide on which books to stock, don't read the books before ordering a whole bunch and putting them on the shelves. Most of the print that gets sold to customers doesn't actually get read, once the books get to the customers' homes.

Hegemony

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2022, 05:23:40 AM »
The answer is that B&N keeps statistics of the purchases of the reading public in its various locations, and it stocks the books that these statistics suggest will sell best. They are not in the business of reporting the facts or remaining objective — they are not a news outlet — they are in the business of selling books. Publishing is always on a knife-edge of profitability, and brick-and-mortar bookstores are closing everywhere because the book-buying public buys from Amazon. So in no way is B&N going to fail to stock books that might actually sell.

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2022, 07:35:38 AM »
Nobody at B&N has or will have read them (they stock far too many books, and too many new ones too quickly, for them all to have been "vetted" by an employee or three). And I'd be willing to bet that most of the people who buy the books in question don't read them, either. They like the idea of reading them, or of being thought to have read them, or of giving them to someone, and they might skim a chapter or two, but that will be it for the vast majority.

It's too bad, really, because I would like it to be the case that a bookstore carefully curates what it sells. But doing so would clearly get in the way of profits, and that's all a chain like B&N cares about.

I have an idle fantasy of one day opening a used book store stocked entirely with books I've read and loved. I wouldn't turn a profit, but it would be nice to be able to guide people to the good stuff.
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RatGuy

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2022, 07:41:33 AM »
Slightly off-topic -- BN has 50% off all board games today only. Very few of them push unpalatable political agendas, so why not take advantage of the sale?

lightning

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2022, 07:42:30 AM »
This might be a sign of the times (or maybe that I'm old). I went to B&N the other day to buy a couple of paper calendars--one for my wall and one small pocket calendar. The selection was meager. They used to have a really large selection.

apl68

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2022, 08:14:50 AM »
Public libraries have to stock what the public demands too.  Whatever that may be.

I don't notice B&N's bargain section being especially dominated by current political rabble-rousers.  You see it, all right, but mostly the B&Ns that I've visited have nonfiction on perennial subjects like World War II, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, airplanes, condensed guides to this and that, and books on the Templars and such.
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lightning

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2022, 12:13:36 PM »
Slightly off-topic -- BN has 50% off all board games today only. Very few of them push unpalatable political agendas, so why not take advantage of the sale?

I went to Barnes and Noble. OMG!!!! I have never seen such a concentration of shoppers. I left really fast.

secundem_artem

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2022, 01:20:06 PM »
I have not set foot in a physical bookstore in years.  I read the NY Times book reviews and order what I need from Amazon.  I don't read much fiction but I do find reviews of authors I like - e.g. Jonathon Franzen and Gary Shteyngart - and order them direct. Or, I order direct from academic publishers when they send me catalogues for work related reading.

If I come across a movie or TV show based on an interesting book, I'll get that.  Just finished White Noise by Don DeLillo and am looking forward to the Netflix release of the movie this week.  I might look into some Neil Gaiman having seen a couple of things on Netflix based on his work.
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Wahoo Redux

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2022, 04:49:45 PM »
said blurb notes that he has a highly rated Youtube podcast.   So why is it that anyone would trust the insights of a guy with a Youtube podcast? 

That's the kids.  Gen X on is very attuned to online media.  YouTube Bloggers have a lot of name recognition.  I think some of them are good, but I have never actually watched any of them.

I very seldom go to B&N.  Their selection is good for recent publications, magazines, and nonfiction but meagre otherwise.  Anything outside the mainstream I easily find online, often for free as a PDF if it is a classic.

I do like perusing their sales items, which I assume come from a warehouse somewhere.

I do like the café, although these are pretty standard.  The one thing I will say about B&N is that when my nephew randomly said, "Gosh, I wish I could read [big pop novel]" right before Christmas, and Amazon was going to take five days to get it here, I hopped in the car, aimed it at B&N, and, voila, there the novel was.  The system worked!

I really, really, really miss the independent and used bookstores, however.
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hmaria1609

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2022, 01:11:22 PM »
I shop online and in store with Barnes & Noble. I got on the mailing list some years back because I ordered something to be delivered to the store.  They had a two floor store with roomy cafe seating in DC but it's long gone. Commercial lease got too high! I enjoyed going there after work.

There' still one at the mall in my town however I've noticed the selection has slimmed down on the shelves. Also they rearranged sections in the store.  Also, selection varies by location.

dismalist

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2022, 01:23:59 PM »
Anybody remember Borders? A palace for books!

We -- the customers, readers -- didn't like Borders' enough to let it survive. I'd always thought B&N a distant second.

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Anon1787

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2022, 02:18:57 PM »
B&N is the only national bricks-and-mortar book retailer left in a shrinking market. Unlike rich tech companies, B&N doesn't have a lot of spare cash to hire people to vet books for facts. But if B&N adopted the idiotic practice of trying to be a major gatekeeper, it should start by vetting the claims of religious texts, which have far more influence on people than some guy with a Youtube channel.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2022, 02:39:00 PM by Anon1787 »

dismalist

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2022, 02:23:10 PM »
B&N is the only national bricks-and-mortar book retailer left in a shrinking market. Unlike rich tech companies, B&N doesn't have a lot of spare cash to hire people to vet books for facts. But if B&N adopted the idiotic practice of trying to be a major gatekeeper, it should start by vetting the claims of religious texts, which have far more influence on people than some guy with a Youtube channel.

Vet, vet? Hell, we do the vetting! If we don't like it, we don't buy it. End of story.
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Parasaurolophus

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2022, 02:33:32 PM »

Vet, vet? Hell, we do the vetting! If we don't like it, we don't buy it. End of story.

They may not teach this in business school any more, but typically you must buy the product (/book) before you can use (/read) it.
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