Brent Steele, the general book manager at OSU Bookstore in Corvallis, OR, and a former manager for Barnes & Noble, posted this rant on his Facebook page in response to the more than 1,800 people who’ve joined the “Save Our Encino Barnes & Noble” page on Facebook.
I’m quite aware of the backlash I will receive from this note, but as a former Barnes & Noble Store Manager, and current Independent Bookseller, I felt the need to throw in my two cents. So please hear me out.
Secondly, how many local independently run bookstores have gone by the wayside, due to the inclusion of a B&N in your area? Typically, all but maybe one or two local booksellers go out of business when a B&N comes to town. Free market? Not really. When a major player uses its buying muscle, and can afford to do deep discounts in one area to support growth in others, I don’t call that fair play. I call it heavy handed.
While I agree that maybe another pharmacy is not the best choice for a new tenant, maybe you should consider why B&N is leaving. When times are good (like they were in the 1990’s) B&N grew at a dizzying rate. Property was cheap, and growth was easy. But when times are tough, and renewal for a property comes up, B&N decides its time to cut bait and get out of town. Not very supportive of yours, or any community.
I have learned a few things since I left B&N (after being there for 13 years). Do you really need every book out there? Or do you need someone that knows your community, knows the needs and wants of its neighbors, finds those quirky titles you won’t find at the local Mega Big Box Store. B&N is not your local bookstore, far from it. They’re about as local as your nearest Wal-Mart.