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Should Barnes & Noble Drop ‘Booksellers’ from Its Name?

Dropping “booksellers” would free B&N to explore new business avenues and opportunities without shame or insincerity.

By Edward Nawotka

Should Barnes & Noble drop the word “booksellers” from its official corporate name? And would the move in any way be detrimental to the company?

On Wall Street, where perception has an inordinate amount of influence on the stock price, the word “bookseller” may seem like an antiquated anchor on the company. What’s more, with the death of Borders last year, the company’s name, often reduced to B&N, has become a metonym for bookstores, in the way that Amazon has become a metonym for online shopping. In fact, if you look at B&N’s web site, the word “booksellers” is already absent, as it is from much of the store signage.

As B&N’s physical stores continue to reduced in square footage dedicated to books and begin to incorporate an even wider variety of non-book goods — this past Christmas, I bought both Legos and a Crock-Pot from B&N — the stores are beginning to take on the character of brainy department stores, rather than bookstores as such.

Dropping “booksellers” would free B&N to explore new business avenues and opportunities without shame or insincerity. For example, the B&N closest to my house in Houston has a rotating selection of luxury cars on display in its parking garage (though any advertising revenue for this arrangement likely goes to the property management company and not B&N). Is there not an opportunity to further exploit their retail space?

In short, dropping “booksellers” from its name might just give B&N more of an opportunity to survive and even thrive in the real world. Considering now that Amazon is looking at opening up their own physical locations, making the more now may be more profitable than ever.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

READ MORE ON B&N: Barnes & Noble: From Thug to Love

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  1. Lora Friedenthal
    Posted February 28, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Yes, I think they should. It’s not about “books” anymore, it’s about content. If they’re going to survive, they need to become an Information Technology company. The people really shaking it up in publishing already are, which leaves B&N way behind.

  2. Posted February 29, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    It worked for Apple in 2007; it was no longer Apple Computer. Of course, B&N and Apple aren’t in the same ballpark. It can’t hurt, I suppose. It needs more planks in its platforms if its going to be around in the long-term.

    Phil Simon

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