A few weeks ago, I wrote about Barnes & Noble’s and the changing state of bookstores. The major bookseller is clearing its shelves of books to make room for newspapers, greeting cards, even CDs and DVDs. After receiving great feedback from my loyal readers, I’ve quickly learned that I’m not the only one who is interested in bookstores and the direction they are heading. I decided to focus more on how bookstores across the nation are changing…and stumbled across an interesting tidbit.
The headlines are out: Barnes & Noble has announced that it will start selling beer and wine in its stores in an attempt to lure customers back.
Yes, you read it right. In addition to an expanded food menu at Barnes & Noble’s in-store café, the bookseller will start to sell beer and wine in four locations beginning in October—in Eastchester, NY, Edina, MN, Folsom, CA, and Loudon, VA. This decision came after Barnes & Noble revealed that it’s facing hemorrhaging losses because of Amazon’s monopoly of the market, and this new move is in an attempt to avoid following Borders into bankruptcy.
I’m not quite sure what to think, though. I’m already leery about encouraging customers to read books in the café before purchasing them, and adding beer and wine to the menu seems to take the next step in that direction. What happened to the bookstores that were only focused on selling books? Barnes & Noble’s recent decision—although I understand their desire to do something in the face of bankruptcy—seems like a move of desperation.
The society we live in doesn’t leave many options for Barnes & Noble. It seems that the only things left to draw people are food, alcohol and giveaways. And quite frankly, booksellers are not far behind—they already utilize food and giveaway events… so now what’s left is alcohol.
But what about reading? Gone are the days that people entered a bookstore only in search of a book…not a movie, a CD, or a treat.
Perhaps I’m a traditionalist who believes that bookstores should sell only books—not treats, CDs, movies, toys, records, calendars, or beer and wine. But I guess I’m wrong, because Barnes & Noble’s stock rose and Amazon’s stock fell in the days following their announcement. Perhaps there’s hope yet for Barnes & Noble’s survival against Amazon—although at a cost to the company’s founding principles.
Personally, I find it to be a sad reflection that people have become so disinterested in reading and more so that bookstores are resorting to these drastic measures just to keep their doors open.
What do you think of Barnes & Noble’s new wine and beer policy? Would you now shop for more books or would you go there specifically for the wine and beer?
Booze and books, maybe… but drinking while shopping?