The New York Times published a couple days ago a piece about Barnes & Noble. The title would set the mood: “The Bookstore’s Last Stand.” Well, that’s disheartening, specially when the focus of the story is about the nook (B&N’s response to the Kindle).
Really? The bookstore’s last stand is an e-book reader?
So, I started thinking: “What would I do if I was Barnes & Noble?” (or at least its CEO).
First of all, if I was Barnes & Noble, I would focus on the joy of reading a “live”, real book, instead of trying to catch the digital counterpart. Let me explain.
In that article I learned that B&N’s history goes back to 1873, before there were cars, the time when reading meant much more than today. Just imagine what a book did for a person at that time.
Funny thing is, books still have that magic. Specially paper books.
So, if I was Barnes & Noble I would use my budget to bring back the joy of reading a paper book. Imagine the possibilities. B&N could be the leader in the “offline” reading world: book clubs, dads reading to their kids, promoting the joy of turning the page and figuring out what’s next.
If I was B&N I would redesign my stores and make them more accessible for readers. I would put more tables, more chairs (confortable chairs). I would take off all hint of digital life (staring by turning off the free wi-fi) and make it a place to relax.
If I was B&N I would use my partnerships with the publishers to make readers feel special. I would do events, sure, but imagine that B&N hosted special readings with the authors’ true fans.
Why am I writing about B&N? Because I like them. I truly do. I spend at least 45 minutes there every time I visit (I have one within walking distance from where I live).
Sure, books may be cheaper at Amazon, and some of them are to be bought used (for which I’d recommend Better World Books), but for that feeling of walking through knowledge and world inspiration, B&N is the leader.