Barnes & Noble is still losing money and this holiday season likely won’t save them. With mounting losses and no sign of profitability ever in the future, Barnes & Noble will eventually run out f cash. When that happens, expect their bookstores to start shutting down just like Borders Books did a long time ago.
The big problem is that Barnes & Noble has to pay retail leases for all of their stores. The second big problem is that Amazon is cheaper and more convenient for many people to buy books. Given a choice between a larger selection with lower prices or a smaller selection with higher prices, why would anyone choose the smaller selection with higher prices? That pretty much sums up Barnes & Noble’s problem.
Barnes & Noble tried to push Nook tablet sales as a way to offset the shift from printed books to digital e-books, but the Nook is struggling against Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad. Without a successful e-book tablet market to rely on, Barnes & Noble has nothing but increasing costs and decreasing sales and profitability. It’s simply a matter of time before Barnes & Noble disappears for good.
As we watch another major book retailer bite the dust (first Borders Books and now Barnes & Noble), it should be obvious by now that printed books are in decline. Anyone who can’t see that simply is denying reality right in front of their eyes. You can either deny reality or accept it, but either way, reality will cheerfully march on whether you accept it or not. The easiest way to deal with life is to accept reality and plan around it.
With fewer bookstores where people can browse books, it’s going to be more important than ever for authors to promote themselves through social media, blogs, websites, and any other way they can. Bookstores are dead, book publishers are dead, and the only future is for self-published authors to take control of their own fate, publish their own books electronically, and promote them to their own legions of fans. If you’re expecting a book publisher to promote your book, forget it. They don’t have the money since they’re too busy struggling just to stay alive long enough to pay their own growing bills.
For many people, the demise of Barnes & Noble will be a sad moment in time. For others, this may be a moment to change strategies and focus on the positives. Instead of relying on the narrow restrictions of getting a book through an agent and then a publisher, and then into the hands of a book distributor and finally a bookstore, self-published authors can reach their audience instantly through the Internet alone. Instead of seeing the demise of Barnes & Noble as a sad occurrence, look at it as a liberating event that puts your fate as an author firmly in your own hands. For some people, that will be scary. For others, there are riches and success awaiting them if they simply adapt to the new world of electronic, self-publishing.
The glass is either half empty or half full, depending on how you look at it. The people who see gloom and doom are the same people who saw gloom and doom from the demise of slider rulers, buggy whips, and cameras that used film. The future is actually quite bright if you just look in the right direction.