A Letter to Barnes & Noble

by BrendaReeves

Dear Barnes & Noble: Why are you doing this to me? I've been a loyal customer for many years.

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?


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?

Reinventing Yourself

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.

The Nook

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.

Sincerely yours,


A Loyal Customer

Updated: 02/28/2012, BrendaReeves
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BrendaReeves on 12/05/2012

I've got to get some of that.!

katiem2 on 12/05/2012

At think geek they have perfumes that smell like ordinary things such as paper. I man suggest he might buy some and spray it on his Kindle to get the feel of a real book. lol

BrendaReeves on 09/04/2012

Thank you Barbara. I was just in Sacramento, CA. The B&N at the mall has just as many books as always. However, the one here in Louisville took out a lot of bookcases and their game section is growing.

barbarab on 09/04/2012

I saw this happening earlier in the year but this summer the B&N seems/optimal word there/ to be coming back along the lines of where it needs to be...the games are still there but they are now on the discount table and the area right in the center front of the store for the nook? it seems to be taking less space! I hope its turning around,that is...wonderful article here Brenda!

BrendaReeves on 08/06/2012

Oh you are so right, frugal. Kids are missing out on so many wonderful things that have left us.

BrendaReeves on 08/06/2012

Oh you are so right, frugal. Kids are missing out on so many wonderful things that have left us.

Guest on 08/06/2012

It happened to music - kids will never experience what it was like to hold an album in their hands - or the "click" on an 8 track player as it switched over to the next track, etc....we love books and music...and are still grieving over watching the music industry die, where people buy songs instead of experiencing the ritual of opening a new record, studying the art, reading the lyrics on the inserts, etc...

BrendaReeves on 03/22/2012

It's really sad to see it all go. Thanks for the comment David.

DavidPaulWagner on 03/22/2012

A very interesting article. In the city of Sydney (Australia) where I live, I can notice a similar trend happening in the main branch of Dymocks, one of the oldest bookstores in Australia and until now a great source for serious books. The floor space devoted to books on history, literature, travel, computers, etc. is shrinking quite dramatically.

Jeannieinabottle on 02/22/2012

Barnes & Noble has definitely changed. I really wish they offered better discounts and coupons. I receive emails from B&N, but the coupon is usually just 10% off one item. Wow, don't get too carried away! Their prices are pretty high in the first place. I'd be much more likely to shop at B&N if they offered 10% off the entire purchase or perhaps 25% one item. Better coupons would bring more customers through the door.

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