Over the past decade, Barnes & Noble has suffered some pretty considerable losses. There have been 150 store closures, diminishing sales, and a one billion dollar loss on their Nook e-reader. Perhaps the most obvious reason for B&N’s crisis stems from the growing popularity of Amazon where readers can order books online cheaply with little to no struggle.
It’s for this reason that Barnes & Noble’s new CEO, James Daunt, is rethinking the way that his bookstores operate. Daunt’s background lies in indie-publishing, and, as the founder of Daunt Books, he has always focused on providing customers with an earnest book-buying experience. There is an undeniable charm about browsing the calm, book-lined walls of an indie-shop. This is the type of experience Daunt wants to bring to the major book selling company.
image via the gaurdian
In an interview with Quartz, Daunt said:
A good independent bookshop is something pretty special. It has personality and character, and that’s primarily driven by the people working in it, the booksellers. Also the manner in which they display their books, the amusement and serendipity of how they curate their shops.
Daunt is seeking to transform big bookstores into hubs of refuge for readers who have grown weary of online retail. “All that ‘If you read this, you’ll like that’—it’s a dismal way to recommend books,” Daunt told The Independent. “A physical bookshop in which you browse, see, hold, touch and feel books is the environment you want.”
Having physical spaces where books are disseminated is important to any literary community, and Barnes & Noble would be wise to use this to their advantage. However, just as Amazon hindered Barnes & Noble, Barnes & Noble consistently harms the proliferation of independently run bookstores. Whether or not Daunt’s new role as the CEO of Barnes & Noble is seen as a betrayal of his indie-roots, it will be interesting to see where he takes the company.
Featured Image Via Grit Daily