Barnes and Noble's new boss is James Daunt, who rescued the UK's Waterstones

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Let’s hope he can repeat the magic. I try to hit up Barnes and Noble every year when we go visit the in-laws at Christmas.

I miss Borders (although less now after hearing how it was a bad place to work). I moved to Toronto a couple of years before they went belly up. We had lived essentially within a block or two of the one in Madison for several years.

Having said that, I buy 90% of my physical books at your former employer.


I gave up on B&N years back when I “bought” a stack of carefully-selected-to-not-be-DRM’d epubs from them (for my Linux laptop) only to discover that they might not be DRM’d but they were only readable online from the B&N site, with no legal [1] way to read them. Scalzi got his royalties and B&N lost a customer forever.

[1] Yeah, I know that there are ways to crack them. Never mind, I know when my business is not wanted.


As Al “Grandpa” Lewis once said, “what’s wrong with dat?!” Man, I miss Daedalus.

While I’d rather have B&N bookstores than no bookstores at all, I don’t imagine this bodes well for what’s left of the independent stores. (Man, I miss Vertigo.)

Me too, I always preferred visiting their stores to B&N’s, although I couldn’t specify why (maybe only because I visited Borders first). (About a year or two after the Borders stores closed in the U.S., though, I found one still operating in Oman)


I like B&N except for a few minor issues (IMO)

  1. Too many pop toys and figures. Leave that to the Newbury Comics of the world.
  2. Not enough board games. Yes we all know you have the original Dominion boxed set. Try having some of the xpacs or new/different games available for purchase
  3. fix your distribution issues with DC and Marvel so you have full stocks of new issue comics. And also have a bargain bin for graphic novels. I find the same ones you are selling for the cover price $29.99 and comic/toy shops for $5.99 because they are 10 years old.

borders had more depth.


However things work out, I’d like to have two or three things:

    • Don’t mix science fiction and fantasy unless that is explicitly how the author(s) intended.
    • Offer a place to preview audiobooks so I can see whether the narrator’s voice is intolerable.
    • Offer bundled packages at a discount with paper, e-book, and audiobook versions together. (Do any bookstores already offer this?)

I do most of my book shopping at Heffers Booksellers, but I also have no qualms about shopping from Waterstone’s. The café in my local Waterstone’s is lovely. The staff are knowledgeable, and do a great job. This will be a good thing for B&N, I’m sure.


What’s he gonna do, take off and nuke all the Amazon sites from orbit?

Indigo separates science fiction from fantasy and it drives me crazy when I do go there. BMV has a weird division between literature/literary fiction and popular fiction which is even worse.

Having said that, it’s a hard problem to solve. Bigger sections are harder to browse and smaller, specific sections can make it easier to find things. But there are a lot of books that fit into multiple categories!

I personally find more specific sections most useful with non-fiction (i.e., separate 19th century history from WW2, etc.) but even that can be a pain in the ass.


Wow, B&N still exists? Best of luck to them!

We have Powell’s Books here, both new and used books, but you don’t have to live near Portland to shop there - they are online, and you can put in alerts for used titles they don’t already have.


Really? Am I the first to make the following horrible pun?

Saving Barnes and Noble will be a truly Daunting task.

I’ll see myself out, and take my smug expression with me.


I used to work at B&N in high school and a bit in college. As a source of teenage income, it was a great place to work, though I can’t vouch for full-time folks.

I continue to love wandering its labyrinthine stacks, and I hope that Daunt can make it a better place for booksellers and visitors.


I’m originally from Michigan so Borders was the first big book store I set foot in. Barnes & Noble didn’t come until later.

I may have set foot in the original Borders store in Ann Arbor but I am honestly not sure–I lived there for a year when I was in middle school and my mother lived in Ann Arbor for many years. I do have fond memories of the public library downtown.


I’m spoiled because my city of Pittsburgh has lots of niche bookstores, but I live far away from most of them.

Barnes & Noble feels like walking into a Starbucks- the same crap everywhere I go. Nothing unique so much so to the degree that I feel every one I go into is so devoid of meaning, I leave. Even though I can see a sea of books, I automatically assume it’s all worthless crap because of the image the store gives off.

It feels like everything I see there isn’t a book but yet another politician Memoir or talking head memoir or something mindless of the moment but no actual books, surrounded completely by the boring bits of a pop culture Toys R Us, every little knick-knack in the world and pop culture figurine that has nothing to do with books.

Basically they feel like if the people who created Spencer’s toned it down a little and ran a bookstore.

I hate it


Waterstones pays roughly $10 an hour in London. Just barely the official ‘London living wage’, but really not enough to live on your own anywhere within an hour of their main stores, barely enough for a couple of booksellers living together to afford a one room flat in Zone 3, 30-45 minutes commute away.


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