The last few times I've gone into your store, I've noticed your bookshelves are disappearing. Your discount table is stacked higher than ever, and you aren't replacing those books. Yet, the shelves full of games keep growing. Does that mean you're turning into a toy store?
A Letter to Barnes & Noble
Dear Barnes & Noble: Why are you doing this to me? I've been a loyal customer for many years.
I shouldn't admit this B&N, but my brother said I'm weird because my life revolves around Barnes & Noble. Whenever he calls, and asks what did you do today? I say I went to Barnes & Noble. I'm not weird. It's just that you are community to me. I meet my friends there, and I make friends too. Every Friday after work, my friend Judy and I meet at Applebee's for dinner. You're in the same shopping center and after dinner we head on over to visit you.. We order coffee and dessert in the cafe and sit down with a stack of magazines and books. We stay there and chat and read until closing at 11 o'clock. I usually buy a book. When I was teaching, I spent $1000.00 a year in your store. I'm losing my favorite simple pleasure in life. I was certain that when I died, I'd find out that heaven is a Barnes & Noble.
You've been my favorite bookstore, because you're so warm and cozy. Other bookstores feel sterile. I love the waft of coffee when I open the entrance door. You even ended up getting Starbucks coffee. Starbucks is my other favorite place in the world. Now I can drink a frappuccino at B&N.
I see an elderly gentleman in your store quite frequently. He's always well dressed, and I think he stays there for most of the day. He's probably lonely. Where is he going to go if you become a toy store?
I realize the economy hasn't been good, and you must reinvent yourself to survive. Those darn ereaders are the real reason for the disappearance of your shelves, but avid readers want to feel and smell the book they're reading. We want to see it on a bookshelf. We want to thumb through the pages. Here is what I see happening in the future:
- People won't read as much, since there won't be any book shelves; out of sight out of mind
- Children won't learn to read, since the books will be hidden in cyberspace.
- Adults who work on computers all day don't want to go home and read for leisure on a computer.
Okay, I confess, I bought a Nook. I swore I wouldn't, but my mother has Macular Degeneration and it's becoming more difficult for her to read. I can change the font size for her and the back light also brightens up the words. Another confession: I downloaded a book for myself. I moved six years ago, and your store is now a 45 minute drive from where I live. I have to admit that it's nice to get a book in an instant when I don't feel like driving or going out of the house. I want to point out that to remain loyal to you, I didn't buy your online competitor's ereader even though your ebooks are more expensive. I wanted to remain loyal, since you've been so good to me all these years.
Good luck B&N. In the meantime, I'm waiting to see what you metamorph into.
A Loyal Customer