Barnes & Noble gives you a reason to go to a store…500K signed copies

Barnes & Noble gives you a reason to go to a store…500K signed copies

While Amazon could hypothetically do this online, and Barnes & Noble could have made the books available online (but didn’t), this is a bold move.

According to this

press release

Barnes & Noble will have 500,000 copies of books signed by 100 authors (including Neil Gaiman, Amy Poehler, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Anne Rice) available just to instore customers.

That’s not a lot of them per store: on average, 5,000 per author (but it may not have an even distribution) and they have about 700 stores (assuming the college stores don’t get any). That comes out to about seven copies per store per title, again assuming they were evenly distributed (which they won’t be).

Bottom line: I would expect the big names to sell out within the first hour.

You can see all the authors and books here:

Again, I think this is a clever move…although I suspect we’ll see many of them for sale on Amazon afterwards from third-party sellers. That and eBay and such.

They will make good gifts: there is something special about an autographed copy, and while there are technological ways to do that with an e-book, it isn’t the same.

Unlike some people, I’m not convinced this is B&N’s last holiday season as a brick-and-mortar (I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager). They are making some effective moves into things other than books, and there is more profit in the toys and games (I also managed a game store at one point).

Continuing to compete with Amazon on books? That’s a significant challenge. Staying in business as a main street retailer? That’s a possibility.

Once the Amazon Echo gets more integrated with shopping (especially outside of Amazon), that will give all brick-and-mortars more of a challenge.

Imagine this:

“Alexa, can you buy a signed copy of Gone Girl and send it to my cousin Pat?”

Alexa: “Sure. I can have it there in three days for twenty-five dollars or in two days for $30.”

“Okay, go ahead.”

If that happened, would you care where the Echo got it? Probably not. As I picture it, that store would pay Amazon a cut for arranging the sale, keeping your price low.

That’s what Amazon wants, in my opinion: to become the infrastructure of consumerism.

For this Black Friday, though, I think the promotion will work for Barnes & Noble…at least for that first hour. I suspect we’ll hear that Amazon won the season, though.

What do you think? Do you have any signed copies? I have one signed by Kirk Alyn (the serial’s Superman), who signed it for me at a convention. It’s a bit of a surprise to me how valuable that seems to me. Do you think this will extend to other sales for B&N on Friday (when these become available)? What will B&N look like in the holiday season of 2015? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them


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