March 24, 2016

Barnes and Noble is the least friendly bookstore chain

For authors and small presses, the Barnes and Noble chain has been and continues to be the the worst bookstore. And their online store matches their brick-and-mortar stores in being unfriendly.

Frankly, Barnes and Noble sits in the hip pocket of the five largest book publishers.

Partly it’s because of their history and, most recently, their incompetent management.

Barnes and Noble’s flagship store, much like Macy’s in retailing, is a popular destination in midtown Manhattan. Because of its location near the headquarters of the five major publishers, for decades it has been the place where these big publishing houses focus their influence. However, the further away from NYC its stores get, the less important those connections become. Yet, the corporate minions rule its stores with an iron fist by not allowing its outlying stores to reflect the individuality of local authors. Thankfully this has helped local independent bookstores to fill that gap and become even more viable.

In its online store, years ago as Amazon began growing its regional warehouses, Barnes and Noble failed to expand, relying instead on its one major distribution hub that was designed to service its own stores. As a result, unlike Amazon which welcomes books from all authors and publishers, Barnes and Noble discriminated against small presses and individual authors by requiring them to submit each book to its small press division which summarily rejected almost every book submitted.

As a result of its own self-importance and unwillingness to adapt, Barnes and Noble has become an unfriendly venue to authors and publishers who are now the lifeblood of the publishing industry.

Like with other independent publishers, while we do business with Barnes and Noble, they remain the least friendly stores for our authors and the books we publish. And isn’t that a shame, because as their profits dwindle and more stores are shuttered, their management remains clueless as to why.
Dirk Wierenga
Principia Director of Publishing

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