I recently read an article in Alaska Dispatch stating that Barnes and Noble is downsizing its stores and will continue doing so over the next few years.
Does this shock me? Not really, with the economy the way it is and the publishing companies still in a flux over the e-book, it’s no surprise that “sacrifices” have to be made. (Note, the quote marks, I’ll get back to that later.)
Does this scare me? Not as much as I thought it would. I’m all for Barnes and Noble, of course, a few of my friends work there. I meet clients there. I enjoy perusing the books and it’s a lovely place to go to for those last-minute holiday/birthday shopping ideas. It’s a wonderful store.
The article then went ahead into a bit more detail concerning the B&D closures and how it would actually give rise to the smaller independent book stores – the little ones on the corners or by coffee shops. Quaint was the word that flitted through my mind as soon as I read about it. Quaint was the word that I always tend to think of when I picture small bookstores. It was already happening in the Lower 48.
As much as I love B&N, I like the smaller bookstores, too, the more personalized ones (sometimes they have themes!), the ones run by families or a small band of dedicated workers. Plus sometimes the smaller bookstores promote books that are off the beaten path so to speak, which can broaden my idea of what makes a ‘well-written work.’
I look at things from a writing perspective, too. The smaller companies would probably cost the author less to put his or her books on the shelf than the bigger companies (let’s face it, big companies ask for big money), but there is the downside of possibly not being seen by everyone, or even your target audience. Yet there’s always other marketing and promotional avenues to tromp down on if that were the case, so really it’s not that bad of a deal.
Sacrificing the bigger companies so that smaller ones can come into the world? Well, that doesn’t sound too bad after all.
Have a lovely weekend!