Monday, July 1, 2013

Saving Barnes & Noble

Today's Wall Street Journal poses the same question that I have already been trying to answer, "How to Rescue Barnes & Noble".  The article asked 5 experts and the answers included diversification of merchandise, deeper inventory, discounting, downsizing, and localization as a means to drive profitability.   So what is the secret sauce that can invigorate B&N to improve earnings and stockholder value?

I agree that B&N is a destination and a place for discovery, although searching for titles takes a keen eye, their local database, and sometimes their employees.  Activities and events that encourage adults and children to come visit is always an asset, provided that they reach into their pocket and buy something before leaving.  And more diversification of merchandise could help.  My idea, a partnership or merger with Learning Express to reach families. 

Encourage consumers to bring their Nook e-reader and iPads to the store for exclusive downloads and other digital downloads.  Buy the hard copy book and get the digital download at the store.  Or partner with Audible, a Microsoft company, to offer a free audio download with a hard cover purchase.  Giving extra value for in-store customers could be a great incentive to keep coming back to retail. 

As I have said in the past, I am a fan of B&N and only wish to see them transition successfully into a brighter future where hardbound and digital books are both available.