Barnes & Noble is headed toward bankruptcy. It will join Borders in the graveyard of failed business plans.
Technology changed. Barnes & Noble didn’t.
You may remember You’ve Got Mail (1998). It was a movie about a small bookstore that could not compete with a huge bookstore that was modeled after Barnes & Noble. Technology and capital wiped out the local bookstore.
Now Amazon is wiping out Barnes & Noble. Same story: capital and technology. The free market benefits customers.
I never go to Barnes & Noble any more. I used to. But my time is valuable. I can buy a clean used copy of almost any book for half of its retail price, with UPS shipping to my door. I just click.
I do not spend 12 minutes to drive to the nearest B&N. I do not stand in line to check out. I do not wander around looking for the book. I do not get told, “We can order it for you.” I can order it from Amazon for half price.
If I order a book from Amazon this week, I don’t have to pay Georgia sales tax. Sadly, that tax exemption comes to an end in September. But that won’t help Barnes & Noble.
Barnes & Noble is a dinosaur. It looked unstoppable to Hollywood 15 years ago. But the World Wide Web has brought it down. It will not recover. Its Nook reader is a bust. People prefer Kindle.
My time is valuable. I don’t like driving. One click is all it takes to get me what I want.
Customers are relentless. They ask: “What have you done for me lately?”
In a free market economy, the customer is in charge. What looks unstoppable is probably stoppable. Someone offers customers a better deal. Loyalty rarely overcomes price competition and convenience.
That’s why Barnes & Noble is doomed. Sorry Barnes. Sorry Noble. It was nice while it lasted. But you haven’t dome anything for me lately.