So, I live within walking distance of a Barnes and Noble. I made visits at least once, if not more, a month. It was a spacious two level store. It had endless book shelves, loaded with with a massive selection of books in every section. The arts? There was half a wall of art technique books. Seven shelves for photography. Floor to ceiling books on Comics, gaming, manga art education. Aisles of Graphic Novels and Manga. Extensive collections of favorite comic strips. A large media section full of DVDs, Blu-Rays and CDs, often carrying stuff you will not find at Walmart or Best Buy.
Right after my visit last month, they moved to a new location within the same mall. This weekend, I got a 20% off coupon on any one item. I walked down to experience the new Barnes and Noble. I knew it was no longer two levels, and so I was a bit concerned, but maybe it would still be as spacious.
I literally hated the experience. It felt like it was Barnes And Noble Express. I walked the entire store looking for the media department. I could not find it. I thought I was getting close when I saw the section for CD and vinyl. But I found nothing. Not even a little bucket of Blu-Rays. So I went to customer service.
Customer Service explained that they no longer carried movies. No Blu-Ray or DVD. The store decided to go back to basics and be a bookstore. Mind you, they sell CDs and Vinyl. CDs and Vinyl are not any closer to books than DVDs or Blu-Rays. Hell, I would argue books and movies are closer relatives than music. So, no, Barnes and Noble did not “go back to basics”. They just told a certain group of buyers to get lost.
One of my favorite things was wandering through Barnes and Noble with no real agenda. No specific movie. No specific book. I could wander for hours, find surprises. Books I did not know about. Movies I had forgotten, which were now on Blu-Ray. That twice a year Criterion Collection sale? I looooooved wandering and looking through their selection. In person. It is an entirely different experience than online searching.
But along with the lack of a media section with movies? Everyone of my go to sections has been compressed…in some cases an entire wall is now a mere two to four shelves. Sure, if I know what I am looking for, I could order online. But the joy of discovery in the store is pretty much lost.
And, honestly? If I am going to get all my movies online, well, I might as well stick to Amazon. At Amazon, I can get the same movies for ten dollars or more off. For Example, the 4K copy of X-Men Apocalypse* is $35.99. At Amazon? $19.99. The 3D version? Barnes and Noble charges $39.99. Amazon? $24.99.
Even super cheap blu-rays, Amazon’s regular price beats Barnes and Noble, even if you have a B&N coupon. I ended up buying two books in store. I just looked them up on Amazon. Even with my coupon at Barnes and Noble? I could have saved $10. Good luck, Barnes and Noble. Maybe I will see you at Criterion sale time. Maybe.
*Chosen not for quality of film, but for perfect example.