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The 2016 Barnes and Noble Death Spiral

October 16, 2015 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random  0 Comments

Barnes and Noble is closing their flagship Washington D.C. store in December.

Borders was the herald of the mega-bookstore apocalypse and everything after it is simply the end-game, including the inevitable B&N death spiral.

Borders and their other chain stores used to be the place you can go where you had local people buying and selling books of regional interest and popularity. At that one magical moment in time, they were just the right size with all the wonderful books. I could browse for hours and frequently spent $100 or more.

That gradually changed when the older bookworms were all fired because they cost too much and replaced by hippsters who would look at you funny if you asked for help. If you could find one to ask for help. Soon the store was stocked with books that didn’t mean anything to the people who used to shop there. Then they added DVDs just when digital distribution of movies started to take off (dudes, really?) and toys. Toys.

While the staff at the local B&N is actually friendly and bookish, Amazon remains a very reader-centric place to buy books. Barnes and Noble is not. They have a horrid frequent-buyer’s discount card that cost money and while they are less prone to the Borders centralized stock list, the B&N’s around here don’t stock and display their wears like the indie bookstores with their reader-centric focus on book clubs and regional best-sellers list.

And the problems with their customer service, especially with the Nook, is legion.

B&N can’t compete with Amazon’s “buy any book you can find and you can find anything.” They can’t compete with prices, and they can’t compete with the indie bookstores and their personalized customer service. It is just a matter of time, and if I was a landlord I would boot B&N out of my space as soon as their lease was up, too, because at some point they won’t be able to pay the rent.

It’s not just the landlords who need to plan ahead. If anybody has a business model that relies on B&N, now is the time to really start planning an exit strategy.

This is all very sad. And predictable.


Bonded: Three Fairy Tales, One Bond by Michelle Davidson Argyle

November 08, 2012 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Atmosphere, Awesomesauce, Characterization, Plot, Setting, The Craft  2 Comments

Yummers yum yum!

Bonded is out, and I just ordered my hardcover edition because I am a sucker for beautiful prose in a beautiful physical book.

The first story in this novel, Cinders, was unexpectedly flawless, and I’m not surprised to see it snatched up by a publisher and put into a novella collection. I can’t wait to read the other two stories, and it’s all I can do not to order the Kindle edition and read it this weekend.

If you are a lover of prose so good it’s sensual, if you appreciate the bittersweet truth to the human condition and like storytelling that extracts the pure heart of a fairytale, then I also suggest getting Bonded. Cinders was that good, and there is no doubt the others will be right up there in the literary clouds of whipped awesomesauce.

Michelle is an excellent writer but these are the stories that push her into that otherworldly zone of awe.

Fall is for books except it’s not.

October 28, 2012 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random, The Craft  0 Comments

Fall is for books, or is it?

In younger days the allowance would go up for school, only I would eat less and splurge on paperbacks. Living a modest drive into the city from Powell’s was a money draining endeavor, despite the great prices. I usually had a feminine book reading cutie at my side, so it was all good.

When older with a job, my brain couldn’t get out of the mode of Fall = New School Year = Keep Brain Sharp. The desire for the comfort of a good story as the leaves turned consumed like a drug. This desire walked hand-in-hand, like that book reading cutie, with wanting a hardcover book. That was my badge of adulthood. Screw the bills. I’m buying a hardcover because I can.

These experiences blend into the background of those memories that turn on when I see a falling leaf and the celebration of change that is fall.

Lately, though, I’ve come to realize my fall yearning isn’t for books, it’s for a good story. Fall is the brain’s time to leave the summer literary pulp and fluff and enter the realm of thought provoking entertainment.

Make me think. Make me yearn. Make me cry. Turn me on. Reach out to that place only words can go. Tell me a story, and I’ll tell you one.

A Careful Literary Seduction

May 31, 2011 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random, The Craft  0 Comments

Oh, to be seduced by a book.

The story goes deep within

To caress the heart

To turn the page

That fevered art

A literary sin

Careful now

Careful now

A story just like that

That’s a good story

Just like that

More please

More please

Always more please

Seduced today

Tomorrow starts anew

Careful now

But not too careful!


May 01, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random  0 Comments

Feeling very bookish. Think I will bolt a bookshelf to a wall and load that sucker up. My nightstand is drowning in books.

books books books books, books books books books, WONDERFUL BOOKS, books books, books books, books books, books books!

(sung to Monty Python’s spam chant)