We’ve been watching print, retail and publishing struggle for years. For years–maybe 10 or so–reading, entertainment, and shopping have been changing. Little by little, but on a very clear path, Barnes & Noble–a symbol at the intersection of change in content consumption and retail–has been on a predictable decline.
At first there were store closings. Then more store closings. Then a doomed effort to compete with Apple and Amazon in technology. And now they announce the end of the Nook. In case you missed the latest point on the downward trend, that was it.
I feel bad for Barnes & Noble because it isn’t and never was clear what they could do. It’s not only the way content gets delivered that has changed but we have changed.
I used to love going into bookstores and browsing. I used to love buying books there before Amazon. I used to love reading books before the internet took away my attention span.
Barnes & Noble is Tower records waiting to happen.
Finding a way to persist in the face of those changes is the real challenge. But in the very least, it’s a lesson to us all in how vital it is to see the truth of the economic and social forces that are changing our businesses. Once we accept that, we have at least a prayer of weathering change.