I love bookstores. I love the smell, I love the soothing music, and I love the books!! Sadly, many great bookstores – Borders, Crown Books, Waldenbooks, and so on – are no longer around. Independent bookstores are the best . . . if there is one local in your area. Half-Price Books also has its merits but it just doesn’t have the “bookstore” feel I am looking for. What’s left? Barnes & Noble.
I admit that I have a love/hate relationship with Barnes & Noble. To their credit, a lot of these stores are located in a mall which creates a completely different ambiance. There are a few, large two-story Barnes & Nobles; one of my favorites is in Burlington, Massachusetts, ACROSS the street from the Burlington Mall. And so not to be a pessimist, I give you four things I LOVE about Barnes & Noble, and four things I HATE!
Four THINGS I LOVE AND HATE ABOUT BARNES & NOBLE on Friday
I love that Barnes & Noble is a bookstore!
As I mentioned, physical bookstores are few and far-between. I am happy that I have a store that is relatively close, about 20 minutes, where I can get current new release books.
I hate the NOOK.
Now I am not going to get into an argument about eBooks versus physical books; to each their own. My complaint is the amount of square footage of store space devoted to the Nook and its accessories and samples to play with and a special desk just for the Nook. Have your display, but make it reasonably sized and provide space for the actual books.
I love the Member Rewards!
I’ve been a Barnes & Noble rewards member for almost 20 years; I love the added discounts, the bonus coupons, and the special member perks. When I bring out my member card, the store clerks almost always comment that they haven’t seen a card that old in a long time!
I hate that they never have book 1 in a series.
Looking through the new releases, I love to discover a series that I have never read before. If it isn’t the first in the series and the story looks promising, I search the shelves to find the first in the series and invariably the first one is never there. Now I understand that they can’t have every book on the shelf, but shouldn’t the first one be there?
I love bargain books!
I consider the bargain books a “not included in the total number of books” I allow myself to purchase. They are bonuses just asking to be taken home. I pick up hardbacks that I wouldn’t usually purchase in hardcover, fluff stories that look like they might be a quick fun read, and quirky collections of facts about an English monarch or the Civil War. Rarely more than $5-$10, these are books that may sit on my to-be-read pile for a while, but they are there just in case.
I hate the moving mysteries.
Now I know that mysteries aren’t everyone’s favorite genre, but it seems like this section always seems to get the short end of the location. My local Barnes & Noble has shrunk down this section to a single side of a row. I know that Young Adult Fiction is important, but seriously. Take some of that Nook space!
I love Starbucks!
Ironically, I am not a coffee drinker; however, a cup of tea, a cinnamon coffee cake, and a good book . . . heaven. I like to have a spot to peruse my pile, negotiate with myself about the purchases I will make and the books that will have to be returned to the shelves, and console my sadness of the lost books with something sweet. Having a Starbucks, or any kind of refreshment area, helps to make a trip to the bookstore an experienckse.
I hate the extra “stuff.”
In the past, I have spent many an hour sitting in Barnes & Noble while my little ones played at the Thomas the Tank Engine table. They would play, I would read. When they got tired or the table got crowded, we would find a little corner to read together. I love the complimentary book items; the cute journals, the stuffed Olivia pigs, the Harry Potter games and wands. It’s the unrelated toys and extras that annoy me; it’s a book store, not a toy store.
And so if Barnes & Noble ever wanted my opinion, I would just ask that they focus on what they do best – books!