A Letter to Barnes & Noble

Dear Barnes & Noble,

I’ve been shopping in your stores for over a decade and have bought hundreds of books through the years. Wandering through row after row of shelves, poking my nose into unread books, and shuffling through the clearance section made me lose hours in your store. I even bought my eReader from you, and it has served me well for the past three years (though I’ve lost the charger and you no longer sell them).

While I’ve popped onto your website to peruse the selection there, it’s never been nearly as fun as going into a brick and mortar store. And I would honestly rather visit a store than shop online since online shopping is slowly eroding the bookstore experience. (It played a massive role in the demise of Borders, after all.)

But it’s getting tougher and tougher to justify making the trip to the store.

I typically have a book (or two) in mind whenever I visit, and I’ll scour the shelves for them in vain. The only time that I have any luck finding a certain book is when the author is well-known or have a decent-sized following. It makes sense to me looking at it from your perspective, stocking what has the greatest likelihood of being sold. It just means I don’t necessarily find what I’m looking for. Once or twice, it isn’t a big deal. But every time I visit…

Whenever I visit B&N online–a virtual bookstore with an infinite amount of shelf space–I always find what I’m looking.  Plus there always seems to be a sale going on, so paperback books are typically under $10. And my B&N members card means that shipping is free no matter how much I buy. .

I’ve only had good experiences at your stores. But it’s becoming increasingly harder to justify shopping in brick and mortar stores.

Last week I visited a B&N store in South Park in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’d found A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn on your website for just over $9, and I was more than ecstatic when I found that book on the shelf at your store. At least until I got to the register. The paperback book in my hands was $14 and change.

A $5 difference between picking up a book in-store versus ordering it online is huge. I’m on a limited budget, and nearly all of my books are purchased with gift cards. So I try to stretch those funds as long as I can. And $5 could buy me a couple of eBooks or take a huge chunk out of a paperback that’s on sale.

There’s no other way to say this: I’m breaking up with your stores. Whatever shopping I do from now on will be at BarnesandNoble.com. Now I may slip up now and then around the holidays when you get signed copies of books in-stock, however don’t expect it to be a regular thing. We’re just not meant to be.

Signed,

A Book Lover

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