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

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

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

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.