An Open Letter to Barnes & Noble

Dear Barnes & Noble,

Last week (2/12/2018) you laid off your valuable employees. These employees have given their lives & career to your corporation and you threw them out like worthless trash. Your action make me enraged. I have to admit, I want you to disappear just like you made 1800 employees disappear.  These people are what made going into your stores enjoyable. Do you not realize how valuable good customer service is? Your experienced employees are what kept you in the bookselling market & kept your stores running like a well oiled machine.

What kept your nooks in the eReader market was the customer service your Digital Leads provided. Amazon didn’t offer that. These leads (which I used to be) knew your devices inside and out. They could help find the right device for the right person. It didn’t matter if it was someone looking for an iPad replacement (Samsung Galaxy S2 – Nook) or a simple ereader (Glowlight 3) they could sell those devices. When those devices inevitably had their glitches, they were able to fix them as well. This added value and put you ahead of Amazon and their kindle.

Just like your digital leads are important, your section leads helped where no one else could. These people ventured into the dark and dreary sections like Newsstand and Bargain. Those sections are some of the most shopped areas in the store and yet, most booksellers want to avoid them. Your leads are what helped get those magazines in the customer’s hands. They could take you to that magazine without a second thought. Instead part time booksellers are forced to use your outdated system that makes it almost impossible to find a simple magazine.  Unfortunately, your newsstand sections have started to see the immediate impact. Just check twitter.

Look, I love your stores but I cannot sit here and ignore what you have done. I want to boycott but that isn’t the answer. Boycotting your stores will just put other booksellers out of jobs. Trust me, I know how it feels to close down a Barnes & Noble. It’s heartbreaking. Do your corporate employees understand this? Do they know how much it guts a bookseller to take apart the shelves that some of them helped build? Do they know how many booksellers cry on the last day? Do they know how it feels to look at your home away from home and see it bare? I don’t think they do. It’s obvious that your corporate employees don’t know the first thing about actually putting the book in a customer’s hand.

Your corporate employees have stripped hours from your stores to pay for more corporate positions. You force your employees to run events that constantly fail because they never are given enough resources to make the event a success. You cannot run an effective store with the minimum coverage. You cannot expect to have excellent customer service when your booksellers are stretched so thin.

Please for the sake of all readers learn your value. Your value comes from experienced booksellers who are passionate about your stores. I know that it is hard to see when you’re so focused on numbers but please go into your local B&N and learn the bookselling side of the business. I’m sure you’ll find some good takeaways.

Love,

A pissed off, overly caffeinated faery that hasn’t been able to read because she’s so upset with you.

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