Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

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Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

We visited Amazon and Barnes & Noble bookstores to see who does it better — and the winner is clear

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Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

The books in Amazon Books feel like window-dressing for Amazon’s main goal: getting customers to buy into the network’s hardware and services. Mark Matousek / Business Insider

It’s hard to think of two businesses with more different trajectories than Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The former is one of the most important companies in the world, while the latter has suffered for years.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

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It is also strange to imagine the two as direct rivals. Before opening its first Amazon Books store in 2015, Amazon was not doing much in terms of retail footprint. Now, it has more than a dozen stores that represent another obstacle to Barnes & Noble’s efforts to turn around its fortunes.

I visited one of each brand’s stores in New York City and discovered a disturbing truth about the future of retail.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

I started at Amazon Books on 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan. It is the larger of Amazon’s two bookstores in NYC, covering 5,200 square feet.

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The store’s shelves and displays are more compact than a traditional bookstore, and the space is easy to navigate. But, like other bookstores, it shows much more than most modern shopping centers.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

Amazon wants to make the book-buying process more efficient, but in doing so, it overloads consumers with visual information. The cards under each book make the store look like a warehouse, and there’s a reason most bookstores don’t display every book with a cover facing customers: Different designs and color schemes make it difficult to decide where to look.

Each featured book has a small card under it that includes a rating from Amazon customers and an excerpt from a customer review.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

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The store’s search engine emphasizes the obvious choices – best sellers, award winners, critically acclaimed authors – which are good and bad. On the other hand, it can be useful for readers who are looking for entry points into other genres or who want to brush up on the classics. This comic and graphic novel display, for example, makes things easy for the newcomer.

But the strategy does not distinguish a retail store from an online store. Since many of the packaging methods used by the store can be replicated on the Amazon website or with a Google search, it is difficult to understand why someone should try to go to Amazon Book instead of shopping online.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

To know the price of a book, you need to check it with a few machines available in the store, or on the Amazon app. Prime Members get great discounts.

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But the store may not be aimed at selling books at all. In the center of the store are interactive displays of technology products such as the Echo…

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

Selling an e-reader in a physical bookstore is an obvious conflict of interest. But if you combine that fact with the availability of other tech tools and controls for Prime members, it seems that books can be window-dressing for the main purpose of Amazon: to encourage you to buy in the network of hardware and services designed to increase. the number of purchases you make with Amazon.

Amazon’s website does an excellent job of making it easy to search and sort through a large number of products without feeling overwhelmed. While Amazon Books couldn’t match the quality of a web store, the organizational principles reminded me of the online shopping experience.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

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But that may not be the best model for a bookstore. In an age where it has never been easier to buy a book without leaving your home, bookstores want to offer a different experience than online shopping. The best, like NYC’s Strand, do this by having experienced staff who show off their inspiration and design their stores to encourage natural resources.

Amazon’s books feel like they were created by an algorithm, right down to the coffee shop that sits next to the mall. It’s so comfortable and small that it’s a better place to take Instagram photos than to read or chat with friends.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

Barnes & Noble has been struggling for years, so it’s easy to understand why it would offer purchase considerations like candy and discounted pop culture memorabilia to boost sales, but they make the first floor feel crowded.

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The store uses more space to display less attractive products, such as fundraising books and hardcover journals.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

This is just part of the CDs that were sold in the movie and music section of the store. Considering how much CD sales have declined over the last decade, I don’t think the demand will even come close to store availability.

Not surprisingly, Barnes & Noble is more like a traditional bookstore than Amazon Book is. And that’s a good thing, because unlike Amazon Book, I could see myself spending hours shopping at Barnes & Noble because of the wide variety of books available and the long, shelf-like shelves that encourage random discoveries. As a result, I can also buy more books from Barnes & Noble than from Amazon Book.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

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This display is a perfect example of how to capture and direct the attention of the seller. By swapping books with their covers and spines facing the customer, the display highlights the number of books without overwhelming the customer.

Even the coffee shop, which is run by Starbucks, feels more inviting than the one at Amazon Book.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

Despite its flaws, I love shopping in Barnes & Noble. But Amazon Books may be like the future of the retail chain.

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It’s a shame if there are bookstores. Barnes & Noble provides a compelling, if imperfect, alternative to local bookstores in cities that cannot support them. But its sales strategy is more akin to that of struggling department stores — selling too much stuff in a big space — than other department stores like Apple and Warby Parker.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

A minimalist approach may be best for tech products, but it doesn’t work for bookstores either. The more you limit the inventory, the more you defeat the purpose of going to the bookstore in the first place. Barnes & Noble is a better store than Amazon Books, but it’s tied to a worse business model.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive our top stories based on your reading interests – delivered daily to your inbox. Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt, who took over last spring, decided the company’s stores didn’t need cleaning. above. His plan, over the next two years or so, was to shut down the facility on a rotating basis for a few weeks during renovations and repairs.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

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This spring, Barnes & Noble used the nationwide shutdown as an opportunity to refresh more than 350 of its 610 stores across the United States, using small teams to move furniture, paint walls and bring in new books. Reviving the stores was part of a larger plan to revive the company, a difficult task to begin that has become more daunting under the weight of the pandemic.

“I knew I wanted to tear these stores apart and put them together in some way,” Mr. Daunt said. “And then all of a sudden: ‘Oh my god, they’re all closed. Let’s go to work.’

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

“At the same time,” he added, “we didn’t want to spend money, because we didn’t know how long this epidemic would last.”

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Jonathan Castro, a Barnes & Noble manager at a Yonkers mall, spent two weeks in April and May taking books off the shelves and rearranging furniture. He was one of three people who came to the store every day, alternating with another group of three.

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

Some of the walls are painted blue now, and the signs look a little different. Many of the books look on the shelves, so customers can see the covers as they walk by. The books have been rearranged – for example, food lists and cookbooks are now next to each other, instead of against each other in the store. And overall, the floor feels very open. Most of the large displays were scrapped — Mr. Daunt said every store got a dumpster — and replaced with smaller tables that are easier to look at and walk around.

Shoppers browse the children’s book section of a Barnes & Noble store in Yonkers. Credit… Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Coffee Table Books Barnes And Noble

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“It’s very open,” Mr. Castro said. “Me

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