Monday, March 05, 2007

Barnes & Noble not doing great

Actual publishing news, fancy that!

This piece comes to me courtesy of the Publishers Weekly daily newsletter, which basically says that B&N's stock prices are probably going to drop by 30%.

Now I have a deep attachment to Barnes & Noble, you see. They're the only big bookseller in my area, and ever since they moved in about ten years ago, they've been a place to hang out. I'm feeling sad and want a treat? I go to B&N to browse all the books; it makes me happier, even though I may not end up actually purchasing anything. I like the cozy atmosphere that they've created, the discounts that they give on books (my membership discount card is worth every penny I spend on it), and the fact that at least to me, it's a place that feels like home.

Now I don't think they're going anywhere soon, but it still dismays me that they're not doing as well as they should be, financially. I am all for supporting independent booksellers, and would personally love to have an independent one in my area (hello, Freehold, NJ--your ideal place to open a bookstore just for me! a used bookstore is fine too!). But Barnes & Noble has replaced so many of the independents over the years, even the very few that we used to have way out in suburbia. And if they start doing badly, then I think it's going to affect the bookselling business as a whole, since there are no longer any independents to really step up to the plate. Which is just a really sad thing to contemplate.

To skip beats a bit, I'd like to mention that I'll be visiting Toronto at the end of the month. Are here any good bookstores there that I *must* see? Used ones are just as good as new ones, and I love finding new bookstores. Hell, I fell in love with the Elliott Book Bay Company (do I have the name right?) when I went to Seattle a year and a half ago... I would have lived there. So basically, any good ones in Toronto? They have to be accessible by public transportation, fairly close to downtown, and in a good neighborhood, so that I can safely go there by myself at night. Any and all suggestions are welcome! =)


adrienne said...

I'm probably a bad person to answer this as I typically hang out at the big box book stores like yourself (in Canada our big store is Indigo/Chapters - same stores two diff names). But if you are into Science Fiction/Fantasy you should try Bakka Phoenix, It's on Queen Street West which is an awesome part of downtown and you should really just check out anyway. You can take a streetcar, or just go to Osgoode station and walk west. It's a bit of a hike that way, but like I said it's a great street. Really artsy. Good clothing shopping too. If you need any more advice contact me via my blog!

Kimber An said...

I have a strong preference for Barnes & Noble too. They're one of two major chains in our area, Alaska. The other one segregated our African American authors, which rather annoyed me. B&N didn't. Guess which one is still in business?

Derek said...

As mentioned already, Bakka Phoenix ( is _the_ book store to go to. You'd really be missing out if you didn't get a chance to set foot inside.

Too bad you weren't in town this past weekend as Ad Astra was on (; it would've been great to have seen you there.

Jodi Meadows said...

I was going to mention Bakka Phoenix, too. You really should go. Leah works there. ;)

Lindsey said...

Elliott Bay Book Company. Close, though.

merlinsmuse said...

Hi, Jenny. There are only a few things to get me into the big city of Toronto and one of them happens to be the World's Biggest Bookstore. Located at 20 Edward St., just north of the Eaton Centre, it's worth the visit.

Derek, I was at Ad-Astra as well. Great weekend with loads of information and great people


Bernita said...

Ms. Jenny,
My daughter, who lives there, maintains a fairly full list of Toronto's new and used bookstores and updates it regularly at http://imaginingtoronto.comguide.html

The guide provides full location and contact information as well as commentary/review of the ones she frequents.

Her favourites( all used) are Eliot's (584 Yonge, a short walk south of Bloor) BMV Books ( the newest location is at 471 Bloor, between Spadina and Bathurst, but the location at 10 Edward Street, just off Yonge a little north of Dundas is also apparently quite good), Babel Books ( 123 Ossington, a block or two north of Queen) and Pandemonium ( Dundas Street West just west of Keele). You might want to check out ( she says) Balfour Books (601 College, at Clinton, in Little Italy) Atticus Books (Harbord Street at the corner of Spadina - a great seller of antiquarian and scholarly titles) and Ten Editions Books (Spadina, a short walk north of Harbord).

Abelard Books and Annex Books have recently closed their storefront operations and gone electronic only.

Hope this helps.

Bernita said...

One should not type in the dark.
That should be

DanStrohschein said...

Jenny, I read that in Publishers Marketplace as well - it's not that they're not doing well, it's that they aren't doing as well as some financial forecasters predicted they would. They've blamed it on their discounts and some other things. They haven't had any growth, but they haven't lost money either.

They aren't going anywhere, in fact, while they might be closing 19 stores next year, they plan on opening 30. Basically, they are relocating their positions to tap into the better markets. They'll start to pick up growth again by the end of this fiscal and the start of next.

Ryan Field said...

Barnes & Noble was my college bookstore at Fairleigh Dickinson in Madison, NJ, and I love them...but from what I hear they have nothing to worry about. Don't they also control a great deal of the industry? I feel bad for the little bookstore called Farley's, in New Hope, PA, where I live(and others like them hanging by a thread). Two rainy weekends and no tourist trade and they are down far more than Barnes & Noble could ever dream.

Chumplet said...

Bernita pretty much provided all the info you need regarding bookstores. My favourite is here in Newmarket, 30 miles north of Toronto. It's called Starlight Books, and they carry new and used books. But I'm sure you don't feel like hopping a GO bus to Newmarket!

Chapters/Indigo in the Eaton Centre is two levels, full of comfortable chairs, a Starbucks, and sometimes live music.

I hope you enjoy Toronto. The weather should be warm enough in the next couple of weeks to stroll the streets. Check out Queen's Quay and Harbourfront if it isn't raining.