Barnes & Noble hastily closes one third of its stores
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 18:02
My dearest Barnes & Noble,
I will be the first to admit we have been unkind to you recently. We have not paid enough attention to you and all you have to offer. But come on, closing a third of your bookstores over the next ten years? I hate to quote Third Eye Blind but, “I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend.” Let’s not be too hasty with this decision. Hear me out.
Your spokeswoman recently admitted not all of your stores are unprofitable, so why are you trying to break up with us ten years early? Did Amazon and the Kindle bully you into doing this? Don’t fall victim to their devilish tactics: some of us here actually still enjoy holding a book in our hands, especially one that comes delivered in one of your beautiful green and white plastic bags. Maybe we would pay more attention to you if your bags were more environmentally friendly, but we can talk about that later.
If you are worried about our future together, let me tell you, online books, Kindles and Nooks are not the same. They lack the intense satisfaction you get from putting your index finger and thumb together to flip a thick paper page between your fingers that a real book provides. You believe me right? I mean come on, is it much harder to pick up an actual book than to hold a dwarfed computer screen?
Don’t sell yourself short either. Your store does more than just sell books. It’s a safe haven. People go there to feel better about themselves. People go there when the days feel too long and life feels too serious and overwhelming. People go to reminisce on simpler times, before everything got so muddled and confusing. We look to you to reconnect us to the past, and to make us feel better about our futures. Sure, we don’t immediately think “Hey, let’s go to Barnes & Noble!” when we’re having a bad day, but that does not mean we have forgotten about you. Oh no, did you think we forgot about you?
We need you, B&N. For those lazy Sundays we stroll through your aisles aimlessly, judging books by their covers before we decide to read the back panel to see if anything sparks our interest. For those Saturdays we want to feel like a hipster with our significant others while we look for the classic books like Moby Dick while wearing our Ray-Ban’s indoors. For those times we just want to read a magazine in solace without actually having to buy it. For those instances when we have a specific book title in mind and we want to go in and buy without having to wait for a shipment from an online purchase. What do you expect us to do without you?
You cannot leave us now. You are our last flicker of hope for bookstores, hell, for books in general. You set the precedent and you remind us that books actually do matter. Without you, I fear my kids will grow up using Nooks and thinking that it is OK. What’s next to go, libraries? B&N, it would be immoral of you to keep on with your decade reduction plan.
I think I can say for all of us that losing Borders was a sad day, but there was still light at the end of the tunnel for us book lovers because we knew the tall, handsome Barnes & Noble was still standing tall. You’re right though, you have every reason to be mad at us. So many of us walk by you daily without stopping in. How silly of us to think you would always be here, now that you have laid down the law and threatened to slowly break our hearts in the next decade. So many of us use you for your free Internet and spend more money buying coffee at your in-house Starbucks than in your actual store. We have been selfish, I will admit it. We can change though! Every relationship requires some compromises. Maybe if you lowered your prices a little bit we would step it up and by more than a marble loaf pound cake from you.
If you have to go I will understand. I am not going to say I cannot live without you, because I can, I just really don’t want to. Maybe we can start over. If you love me, let me know, put an update in a newspaper so I know if you want to still be together.