As has become clear in recent weeks, bookseller Barnes and Noble has fallen on tough times. Over the next decade, B&N has said that it will close one-third of their physical stores. For many who love bookstores and the ambiance that they contain, this news is heartbreaking. It seems as though the online competition of Amazon and other online booksellers have taken its toll. What was the greatest hardship on mom and pop bookstores has hit the country’s largest book-selling chain, and it appears that little can stop the damage.
A very recent development which is a strong threat to Barnes and Noble is Amazon’s newly announced MatchBook program; if you have bought a physical copy of a book from Amazon, you can download the electronic version of that book for little to no cost. This program encourages a switch from physical books to Amazon’s Kindle ereader.
While those affected by the recent struggles would seem to be B&N executives, employees, and stockholders, the question yet to be answered is, how will this affect publishers? After all, B&N had a wide range of clients they sold for, featuring materials from scholarly publishers to magazine publishers.
So when more Barnes and Noble stores close their doors, more and more customers will likely turn to the internet to get their books. And what can be found on the internet in terms of books, you ask? More options for the purchase and rental of used books. Log on to Amazon.com, and they will show you very clearly how much you can save by buying the used copies, as opposed to the new ones. And there is no end to the number of used copies of books up for purchase, located all around the world.
Books that are not bought new or are rented on websites such as Chegg.com are lost money to publishers, even if they still carry the benefit of having their material be read. Therefore, Barnes and Noble’s closings hurt publishers as well, especially because they, and college campus bookstores, are two of the last bastions of brick and mortar bookshops.
Time will only tell how publishers and scholarly publishers will be affected by Barnes and Noble’s struggles.