Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm old-fashioned, and I don't mind it!

"Barnes & Noble's 700 stores may appear to be an albatross. But they could be transformed into places that highlight mostly digital devices and content and mimic Apple's successful stores. Barnes & Noble has already cleared space at the front of its stores to display the Nook and push e-books.

"You don't want the old-fashioned bookstore customer who goes in and sits and reads a book for two hours. You want people going in there who are hungry for experience," said Richard Hastings, a consumer strategist with Global Hunter Securities."

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42 Comments:

Blogger Yvette said...

OMG - the world really is coming to an end.

"You want people going in there who are hungry for experience."

Yegads.

All I can say is, I'm glad I'm going to be dead when all this comes about.

HA!

May 23, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Experience is one of the more abused words of our time. I suppose this huckster's invocation of the word demonstrates that it still has some meaning.

That won't last much longer, though. A couple of days ago I posted a comment on someone's LiveJournal blog. A short video ad played, accompanied by a short notice that the ad would end in a few moments, so I could "resume my LiveJournal experience."

May 23, 2011  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

The overuse of "experience" is allied to the use (now overuse) of "event" to describe what was formally known as a "show" or "program" on television. And the shilling of consumer goods/clothing/fragrances, etc. not as "products" but as "lifestyle enhancements" or, yep, "experiences."

More = the move away from "money management" (which everyone with two dimes to rub together needs to do) to "wealth management" which only the very few need worry about. But referring to wages and pensions and 401K's as "wealth" is a smart way to sell a pseudo-"lifestyle enhancement."

Maybe it's all just getting extremely extreme.

To which I say my v-word > boofph

May 23, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, yeah, I've noticed that inflation of "event." Big ads on the sides of buses go one step further, touting an "epic miniseries event."

The debasement of "experience" must have Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding, and Mitch Mitchell squirming with embarrassment in their graves.

Yeah, "wealth management" is probably an easier sell than "subsistence preservation."

May 23, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

No one wants anyone who just sits around anymore. And God forbid you should nod off and sleep.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Sleeping in bookstores is not cool. But criminy, this consumer strategist is saying God forbid you should read in bookstores.

But look, I understand the fate of people who complain in the face of the inevitable. Besides, someone will develop an app to replicate the browsing experience.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

I wonder if someone will develop an app to replicate the drowsing experience.

Soon, it's all that the sleepy will have left.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No more "Give me your tired" at the base of the Statue of Liberty!

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

Language is being flogged daily, as my latest post on "Writing in a Twist" points out.

I never go to bookshops hungry, BTW. It's one way of having an "empty experience".

And you do know how to confuse a Kerryman (though this might work just as well in Arkansas)...
you give him the choice between a spade and a shovel and ask him to take his pick.

May 24, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

I just blogged/answered interview questions elsewhere about the worst book signing I can recall. It was in a B&N, a store with lovely couches and easy chairs, a coffee and snack bar, and generally all the amenities of your den. Book signings are assigned to one of those lovely spaces. The problem: the couch was occupied by a sleeping homeless man who was outraged by the conversations that went on around him and kept interrupting my short reading and the question-answer session afterwards. The store explained that they could not ask homeless people to leave.

I'm ready for book stores to get back to selling books.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger michael said...

I think the future will hold a place for two types of retail bookstores.

One will look like Apple stores, a place were people with similar interest gather to socialize, check out the latest products, and play with the shiny stuff.

The other will mimic today's retail record store. Small, locally owned by people obsessed with the product.

If you ignore the absurd attempt to be "hip" (I am old too) the consumer strategist has a valid point. B&N needs to sell books not be a library.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Tales, I shall repeat that joke, varying its target as is demographically appropriate.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

OK, let's try this again.

I.J,, I was disgusted by the fawning news coverage Borders received when it came to Philadelphia. It was not just a bookstore, it was a lifestyle!!! A place to get coffee or to make a date!!! So I, too, will be happy if bookstores get back to selling books.

Would someone who had a place to live but acted just as obnoxiously as the homeless man been extended the same courtesy that he received?

May 24, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

We have all the sleeping issues, the homeless issues and the crazy people at events issues as well. But we would promptly 86 anyone who was making trouble at a booksigning, homeless or no. So I'm a bit confused by their helplessness in the face of belligerence, I.J., and I'm sorry for your, uh, experience.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Michael, I'd find it easier to acceot the validity of the consumer strategist's point if I didn't suspect that his real target was leisurely browsing. But I'd bet he's never spent enough time in a bookstore to tell the diffrerence between browsers and bums.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, Philadelphia's public library had a big headache a few years ago when some bum committed a sexual assault in the building. Recently the library has posted a long, detailed list of berhavior that is forbidden in the library: openly displaying sexual materials, having items in one's bag that are too unwieldy to inspect, maybe sleeping, so on. I approve ot this.

I suspect that the timorousness of the staff at the store where I.J. was paralyzed by some noxious mix of political correctness and fear of legal liability and bad publicity.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, the list of items barred from bags at the library includes underwear and bedclothes. Not hard to figure out who the targert is there.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

I'd say we have a pretty high threshold of tolerance for not just the homeless, but unconventional behavior of many stripes. But once you cross that threshold, you've got to go. Period.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Very relevant post on one of the Guardian blogs. Contains a nice cringemaking new buzzword too: discoverability.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, that sounds like a sensible policy toward behavior that interferes with the right of others to work, shop, and enjoy the browsing experience in peace. I like the Philadelphia library's policy, too. It's too bad such a laborious enumeration of offenses was necessary, but I'm glad the list is up and the policy in effect.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, does discoverability go up as deniability goes down?

Thanks for the link.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Peter, discoverability goes up as publishers try to figure out how to get Brits to impulse buy on line in the same way they do in bricks and mortar stores.

Americans seem not to have the same problem. Big surprise.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

More of that typical British reserve, I guess.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Or perhaps realism about their own personal finances.

May 24, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

He's right about the Apple Store though isnt he? You do get an experience being in there dont you? The experience I get is an insight into the mind of a suicide bomber - yes I'm going to die, but look at these rich, smug, skinny, hair gelled wankers that I'm going to take with me.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

Uh, perhaps there should be some kind of screening process to get in. Not everyone can handle the experience, I guess.

It's funny, but after the demise of Borders here everyone is very keen on Apple coming in and filling the space.

...Well, not everyone.

I mean, I have a Dell, and I'm not that invested in the Dell experience either.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, yesterday's advertisers sold the sizzle, not the steak. Today's advertisers sell the sizzle experience.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

I think it's more the idea of having the sizzle experience than the actual experience.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

It also reminds me of Marley's ghost who is amusing rather than scary.

Also, be careful not to take "the biscuit" in real live. It now refers to a "pill" which used mean a really annoying person but now means a narcotic that will send you on the "rave".

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, you're a sociopath. A brick through those big plate-glass windows would be sufficient.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, the Apple store on Walnut Street in Philadelphia is alluring but scary: big glass windows, mammoth versions of smartphones and iPads playing in the window. But then, it would not shock me if Apple stores are identical everywhere -- you know, so those gelled wankers will have a familiar place to buy apps that let them express their individuality.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Photographe à Dublin, my mother used to call me a pill when she wasn't calling me a caution.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I think it's more the idea of having the sizzle experience than the actual experience.

That's true, Seana. No one wants anything real, they want simulacra of lots of things. And you don't have to be a consumer strategist to figure that out.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

The word I meant to post about is "transparency" which actually nowadays means nothing.

However it got left out by mistake, leaving the post rather cryptic... suitable for a crime site, I suppose.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

... and a cautious pill would be pretty hard to swallow, I suspect...

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

And as for Adrian's final solution, he's from Londonderry, I think.

They do things differently there...

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Transparency has been a target of discerning readers of this blog, and rightly so.

And Adrian is from Carrickfergus, outside Belfast. Nor, to my knowledge, has he ever tried to blow himself or anything or anyone else up.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

My comment was a joke.

Adrian will get it.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I get it.

Funny you should mention Londonderry. People go mental back home talking about that place. IF you're a Prod you're supposed to only call it Londonderry, whereas Catholics refer to it as Derry. It cracks me up that this level of insanity got translated to America. Bill Clinton when he went there said "its great to be here in Derry, County Londonderry". There are some people who call it Stroke City as in Derry/Londonderry.


There are two towns in New Hampshire five miles apart called Derry and Londonderry - one presumably founded by Catholic immigrants, the other by Protestants.


I'm a Protestant so in theory I'm always supposed to say Londonderry not Derry, but the funny thing is I have never referred to that city as anything but Derry in my entire life.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, if I get it, I've forgotten it. The nickname Stroke City, which I learned from that talented and entertaining Derryman Garbhan Downey, must have entertained generations of schoolboys.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger seana said...

I'd seen that term Stroke City before, but would never have guessed its derivation. Clever.

I'd never been in an Apple Store until recently when my sister wanted to go to get something as mundane as batteries. I have to say that the people there, in Monterey, were not gelled or trendy. On the other hand, I found it dead boring. I think I checked my email on one of them while I was waiting for her service ticket to come up.

This was in the mall in Monterey, and it wasn't all that flashy. Maybe it was a beta version.

May 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The one in Philadelphia has a decidedly glitzy yet Big Brother vibe.

May 25, 2011  

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