Can Britain’s Top Bookseller Save Barnes & Noble?
David Segal’s article poses the question. I hope the answer is yes.
Barnes & Noble has been sliding toward oblivion for years. Nearly 400 stores have closed since 1997 — there are 627 now operating — and $1 billion in market value has evaporated in the last five years. This week, Elliott Advisors, the private equity firm that owns Waterstones, closed its deal to buy Barnes & Noble for $683 million. Mr. Daunt will move to New York City this month and serve as the new chief executive.
I have lots of fond memories of Barnes & Noble over the years—despite the fact that I liked Borders even better. My wife and kids still like it, so we go to the one closest to us pretty often. It is, in many ways, a sad, pale shadow of its former self. The Nook section is large and empty. It is easier to find toys in there than books. I don’t really understand why they still sell so many DVDs and CDs in the back.
“Frankly, at the moment you want to love Barnes & Noble, but when you leave the store you feel mildly betrayed,” Mr. Daunt said over lunch at a Japanese restaurant near his office in Piccadilly Circus. “Not massively, but mildly. It’s a bit ugly — there’s piles of crap around the place. It all feels a bit unloved, the booksellers look a bit miserable, it’s all a bit run down.
I keep wondering when our local store will shut its doors, though I don’t want it to. I am eager for a turnaround.