Left Scratching My Head At Barnes and Noble

I’ve been looking forward to the release of a book called “The Book of Basketball” by Bill Simmons. Simmons is one of my favorite columnists from ESPN. 

I considered pre-ordering the book on Amazon. But while I was in Bellevue this afternoon, I decided to swing by Barnes and Noble and buy the book. It wasn’t in stock. As I was about to leave, the Barnes and Noble employee asked if I’d like to be notified by email when the book arrived. bofbask

Sure, why not. I gave him my email and he said, “That book is $30 in store.”

“In store?”

“Yes, in store price is $30. That means you want it now and will pick it up from the store.”

“But you don’t have it now. The same book is $16.50 at Amazon”, I tell him.

“You can always order it from our website, where I’m sure it’s less than $30.”

I left the store shaking my head. As much as I want to support local shops, $30 is quite the markup for a book. Does Barnes and Noble want my business? I left with doubts.

What if the employee had offered to ship the book directly to my house at the same price ($17.55) I can purchase the book from the Barnes and Noble website? I would have purchased it on the spot.

It’s only one book and I’m just some guy off the street. But Barnes and Noble missed an opportunity to sell me a book today. And more important, I doubt I’ll go back the next time I’m looking for a new hardcover.

The Amazon website was more helpful than the Barnes and Noble employee. I came home from work and ordered two books and some supplies from Amazon. I’m sure it won’t be the last time.

Comments

  1. Ken Shefveland says:

    CBS did an interesting story regarding book sales and predatory pricing. In light of today's subject, I thought you might find the story of interest…

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/31/eveni

  2. I hope the small book stores like Elliot Bay Books in Pioneer Square can hold on. I'm willing to pay more to support the local shops but probably not 100% markup over online prices.

  3. Unless I need a book right away, I've been treating Barnes and Noble like a library: check out a book in the store, and buy it online (usually not from B&N web site). Recently, our B&N membership expired and I elected to not renew. There's simply no value in it anymore. The “savings” does not justify the annual fee at all.

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